Artsy consultation begins

Feedback on the Whyalla City Council's Arts and Cultural Strategic Plan was sourced from artists, arts workers and other key stakeholders at a meeting held at the Middleback Arts Centre on Tuesday.

Play Your Part Consultant Maz McGann is leading the consultation on the plan, which was formulated based on a list of questions:

  • What is important in our community?
  • What is a genuine expression of who we are?
  • How do we like to express ourselves?
  • What pieces of the puzzle are missing?
  • And what do we do really well?
  • What needs a push?
  • Who is missing out?

Ms McGann said Whyalla had achieved success in areas of youth art, with a number of key organisations like D'faces of Youth Arts helping foster an interest in art from an early age.

"The quantity of young people engaged is really, really strong. Lots of communities struggle with engaging with those young people so I think there is a groundswell there in Whyalla," she said.

"The landscape is incredible here with the backdrop of the outback, resting right up against the ocean so I think those sorts of things are really interesting and will play out in art by local artists."

Ms McGann said there were opportunities around activation of space and place in Whyalla to help further incorporate art into the steel city.

"Activating some of the retail strips through creative industries, markets and festivals would be really important," she said.

Council Arts and Culture Facilitator Deb Hughes said the meetings would help council find out what the community think Whyalla would look like in an ideal world in terms of arts and culture.

"The next step after this will be to take all of the information away and try to make sense of it. Then we can pull out a lot of common threads and find ways those can be translated into actionable outcomes," she said.

Ms Hughes said she expected the lack of a dedicated art gallery in Whyalla to feature in the feedback from the community.

"I really like the Middleback as a space for showing arts and culture because you get a lot of other incidental attraction, people coming in and seeing work they wouldn't necessarily see without walking into a gallery," she said

"Whether we need a regional art gallery comes down to whether we can afford a regional art gallery."

Consultation on the Arts and Cultural Strategic Plan will continue at the following meetings:

  • Wednesday, November 20 at 11am at the Civic Library at Westlands for any interested public
  • Wednesday, November 20 at 6pm in the Old Civic Library, City Plaza for any interested public.
  • Thursday, November 21 at 5pm at the Old Civic Library in the City Plaza as part of the information night for UneARTh for interested participants.

RSVP to Deb Hughes on deborah.hughes@whyalla.sa.gov.au as some sessions are catered or call Deb on 8640 3444.