$250,000 BOOST: Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser and President of Coffs Harbour Creative Arts Group Ken Pay.
$250,000 BOOST: Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser and President of Coffs Harbour Creative Arts Group Ken Pay. Trevor Veale

Four local projects granted $250,000 in new fund

SWEATING it out beneath a half-built ceiling for the past 40 years, staff at Coffs Harbour Creative Arts Gallery were relieved to be one of four local arts projects to receive much-needed funds.

The local projects have a share of almost $250,000 as part of the first ever round of the NSW Government's newly established $100m Regional Cultural Fund.

The Fund was established with the goal to drive growth in arts and culture in regional NSW.

The Gallery has been granted above $30,000 to put towards a new ceiling, air conditioning and more lighting.

"We've been able to get funds to give the improvements that might make this place a little more like home than it has been,” Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser said.

"We're very lucky to have a Regional Cultural Fund which we didn't really have in the past. Applications will soon re-open again meaning more money is available for cultural facilities in regional NSW, which I think is really fantastic.

"This has been a great win for our region and a great example of the community having a vision to establish a strong cultural identity.”

Robyn Lawrence, Secretary and Publicity Officer of CHCAG said the new improvements have come at a time when the gallery is booming in popularity.

"The new roof has been needed for about 40 years now, the building was never finished,” she said.

"We have nearly 200 members now and we have some elderly people, children's classes and refugee classes, so there's a big need for the air conditioning and the ceiling. Especially since the gallery is used everyday of the week.”

The Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance has also received around $74,000 in funding from the first round of the Cutlural Fund.

The Alliance were forced to cancel their annual Saltwater Freshwater Festival this year due to a lack of funding.

A celebration of indigenous culture across the Mid North Coast, the festival is held on Australia Day and showcases local Aboriginal talent through art and music.

The Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre has received a grant of around $104,000 and the Bunker Cartoon Gallery has received around $37,000.

Arts Minister Don Harwin said the Cultural Fund will ensure regional NSW receives its fair share of arts and cultural infrastructure.

"Arts and culture is at the heart of every regional community and this first round of funding is evidence that the NSW Government's commitment to driving growth in arts, screen, culture and heritage in regional NSW is making a difference," Mr Harwin said.

Applications will soon be invited for the next round of funding. Visit www.nsw.gov.au/regionalculturalfund for more.



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