January 28, 2021
South Burnett Regional Council will establish an Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee to take over the operation of its Regional Arts Development Fund.
The committee will also be responsible for making recommendations on 37 suggested improvements to the Council’s new Arts, Culture and Heritage Policy.
The policy was formally adopted at Council’s January meeting last Wednesday.
It is the first time that the SBRC Council has had an Arts Policy since 2013, when the former policy was allowed to lapse.
Cr Danita Potter, who has led the push to reintroduce an Arts Policy during the past two years, said she was very pleased to see it finally come before Council for formal adoption.
Cr Potter said feedback from the Advisory Committee would allow the new policy to be progressively refined and modified over time.
Both Cr Potter and Mayor Brett Otto praised the quality of submissions the Council received during a one-month public consultation period prior to January’s meeting.
Mayor Otto said this feedback was especially notable because the public consultation period fell across the Christmas-New Year break, a time when most people’s minds were on Festive Season celebrations or annual holidays.
Some ideas for future improvements to the Arts Policy made in the submissions include:
- The development of a new policy to guide the future direction and operation of the Council’s regional art collection, which now extends to more than 170 pieces
- The development of a separate Heritage Policy to guide the way Council handles heritage issues, which can often have very little connection to the arts (eg. building maintenance)
- Repositioning Council’s approach to the arts from being “a facilitator” to a more active, hands-on role where Council instigates and drives significant regional art projects
- Building recognition in the community that a vibrant arts sector can have positive impacts on quality of life, tourism, economic development and population growth
- Aligning the Council’s efforts to regional, state and national arts policies and goals
Mayor Otto had previously announced that Council will also separate the RADF Fund from its other community grants program.
This separation will mean RADF grant rounds will no longer be tied to other grant streams.
The change may allow the Advisory Committee to set guidelines for the program better suited to funding arts-based activities, such as quick response grants.
The composition and aims of the Advisory Committee are expected to be announced within the next few months.
- Related article: Feedback Sought On Arts Policy