Art Resides Here: Philanthropy helping keep arts and culture alive in rural Australia

Media releases: 12 September 2018

Bendigo, 12 September 2018: The arts come in many guises and play diverse roles in rural, regional and remote communities. To explore the breadth of those roles and the impact of the arts in fostering healthy resilient communities, the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) is undertaking the Art Resides Here project, in partnership with the H&L Hecht Trust and Regional Arts Victoria.

With 18 years’ experience working with small rural, regional and remote communities across Australia, FRRR has seen the arts generate significant benefits in local and regional economies, improve health and well-being, increase educational engagement, enhance social cohesion and strengthen a sense of place, identity and community pride.

FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton says that a review of the more than 8,000 grants FRRR has made since inception highlighted the diversity of projects that fell under the banner of arts and culture and highlighted the vital role they played in maintaining the sustainability and vibrancy of rural communities. It also emphasised the critical importance of funding things that enable the arts, such as tables and chairs and even hand-dryers in bathrooms.

“Many of FRRR’s donor partners understand the importance of the arts in small communities, and with their support, we have provided more than 615 culture and arts-related grants over the last 18 years. This funding is critical, as isolation and distance to major centres restrict the opportunity for many rural, regional and remote residents to participate in the arts, so it is essential to make available local opportunities.

“For the Art Resides Here project, we identified five diverse Victorian communities that have received FRRR grants and we worked with them to capture both what they did, and the impact. The communities had different needs and ways of embracing the arts – from a cultural festival with an environmental focus, to a Claymation about fire danger ratings, monthly music at a community nursing home, a performance and book in Yorta Yorta and English and ensuring that the community hall was up to scratch so they could hold local dance classes, music jams, community performances and more.

FRRR engaged creative producer and photographer, Julie Millowick, to develop case studies using powerful images and words to tell the stories. It is these authentic community voices and stories that sit at the heart of the Art Resides Here project.

Catriona Fay, Acting General Manager, Community and Social Investments, at Perpetual said they were pleased to support this project, as trustee of the H&L Hecht Trust, to illuminate the role of arts in community development.

“A healthy and vibrant arts scene forms an important part of the cultural fabric of rural Australia. The arts provide a voice for and breathe life into, many different communities across the country.

“The philanthropic sector can play a significant role in enabling access to arts equipment, facilities and expertise in communities, no matter their size or location.”

Ms Fay added, “We are proud to be facilitating increased opportunities for people to share, learn and connect through the arts.”

FRRR’s CEO and representatives from the five Art Resides Here communities will be presenting at the Artlands Victoria biennial conference in Bendigo and Castlemaine, in October. The community leaders will reflect upon their experiences working with arts and cultural projects to deliver different outcomes, and FRRR will share insights into how the arts help build vibrant and sustainable communities.

If you’re interested in arts and culture in regional and remote communities, we encourage you to visit the Artlands Victoria 2018 website and think about registering to attend the conference in Bendigo and Castlemaine in October.

FRRR would welcome the opportunity to speak to any philanthropists who may like to support rural and regional arts.