Newcastle to Host National Art Conference
Newcastle will play host to a national arts conference next year thanks to an $80,000 Federal Government grant announced today by Arts Minister Simon Crean.
The landmark 2013 Renew Australia conference will draw hundreds of people to the city to discuss the concept of transforming empty city buildings into creative spaces.
Mr Crean said Newcastle was a great location for the conference, given the success of the city’s Renew Newcastle initiative.
“Renew Newcastle was established in 2008, with the goal of finding short and medium term creative uses for buildings in Newcastle’s CBD that were vacant, disused, or awaiting redevelopment,” Mr Crean said.
“It was the first project of its kind in Australia and has been so successful that Lonely Planet declared Newcastle as of the top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2011.
“Hosting this conference will confirm Newcastle’s status as one of Australia’s leading creative regions and provide a shot in the arm for the local economy.”
Mr Crean said it would have been hard to believe 20 years ago, that Newcastle would transform itself into a vibrant arts and music hub.
“Renew Newcastle deserves credit for its work in getting creative businesses, artists and community groups into the vacant buildings of the city centre,” Mr Crean said.
“Based on the benefits seen in Newcastle and other projects like Renew Adelaide and Renew Townsville, the 2013 Renew Australia Conference will provide skills development, training and essential support for delegates to achieve what Newcastle has.”
Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Grierson MP said the announcement was great news for Newcastle.
“The Federal Government recognises that Newcastle is a vibrant and diverse arts and cultural hub,” Ms Grierson said.
“The ongoing work of Novocastrians like Marcus Westbury is to be commended for rejuvenating and reusing existing urban spaces in bold creative ways.”
“Renew Australia is the natural evolution of Renew Newcastle, and I’m pleased its success has been acknowledged in such a considerable way.”
Mr Crean said the Federal Government is committed to unleashing the potential of creative minds in regional Australia and the potential of regional towns and cities to become cultural capitals.
"We know the arts connect communities, drive social cohesion, boost economies and sustain local and regional identities.
“The Renew Australia conference will bring together people from regional communities wanting to re-activate and re-energise their communities.
“Using the arts and creative industries for the regeneration of towns and cities has the potential to provide significant benefits right across Australia.
“It’s a challenge for local governments everywhere to initiate these types of projects to transform regional centres into cultural hubs,” Mr Crean said.
Renew Newcastle founder Marcus Westbury welcomed the funding announcement.
"This funding will allow us to fully support community leaders from 20 communities across all of Australia to come to Newcastle and learn ideas, examples and skills that they can take back and apply in their local communities,” Mr Westbury said.
"We have received hundreds of enquiries from regional communities around Australia interested in what Renew Newcastle has done.
“The Federal government support for Renew Australia's conference will allow us to bring community leaders together from all over Australia together to learn how to apply the lessons and examples from Renew Newcastle in their local communities."
The Renew Australia conference will be held in Newcastle from 12-14 March 2013.
From The Newcastle Herald