What does the city already do to support culture and creativity?

In this financial year, the City will invest more than $34 milllion in Sydney's cultural life, including grant programs, free public events and sponsorship of major festivals. Support includes but is not limited to:

  • Producing free public events such as the Sydney New Year's Even, Chinese New Year, Art & About, Sydney Rides and Christmas concernts in the city centre and villages;
  • Funding mjor festivals such as Sydney Festival, the Biennale of Sydney and Sydney Mardi Gras;
  • Commissioning major new public artworks such as Reko Rennie's Always was, always will be on the T2 building at Taylor Square and the long-term development of the Eora Journey;
  • Providing affordable work space across the city for creative enterprised;
  • Piloting new cultural intiatives such as food trucks;
  • The restoration of the Eternity Playhouse, which will open this year as a new community and cultural hub in the heart of East Sydney;
  • Supporting lifelong learning through our libraries network and programs, 2011-12; and
  • Advocacy and analysis of key policy issues that affect the city's cultural life, such as our Live Music Taskforce and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel.


What difference will a policy make to the way the City already does things?

A cultural policy will set out future directions, priorities and commitments for supporting cultural activity and creative enterprise in Sydney. The policy will provide a framework for decision making, delivery and monitoring of these priorities and commitments.

It will also take into account the huge impact technology is having on the way Sydneysiders create and consume art and culture.

Will the cultural policy make any difference to the way Sydneysiders enjoy culture?

While government support and advocacy may not always be visible, it plays a central role in shaping the cultural offerings of our city.

For example, the City is a major funding partner of eight big festivals: Sydney Festival, Sydney Film Festival, the Biennale of Sydney, Sydney Writer's Festival, Sydney Mardi Gras, Sydney Fringe, Yabun and Australia Day.

Each year, these events attract hundreds of thousands of local, interstate and overseas visitors who also stay in hotels, dine out and visit other attractions during their visit. The NSW events calendar is estimated to generate more than $600 million in annual revenue for NSW, providing a major boost to the local economy.

Similarly the reforms that enabled a culture of small bars to flourish throughout Sydney are also changing the face of our laneways and streets.

How will the City assist cultural and creative industries?

Creating a framework of support for cultural and creative industries will be a key component of the cultural policy, and will complement the City's Creative Industries Strategy, which is also being developed. The City already provides significant support to these industries by providing:

  • Affordable and subsidised creative spaces;
  • Cash and value-in-kind support;
  • Access to business and professional support; and
  • Development opportunities through partnership events and research.

What sort of ideas is the City looking for?

Anything and everything. While each city has its own unique cultural characteristics, history and heritage, the Creative City Cultural Policy Discussion Paper includes some exciting examples from Australia and overseas which demonstrate the different ways government can support local cultural and creative initiatives. These include:

  • Arts Tasmania's Collect Program, which provides interest-free loans up to $10, 000 for the purchase of art by Tasmanian artists. Since the scheme's launch in 2008, more than $3 million of art purchases have been made through the scheme with no defaults recorded;
  • New York's urbancanvas design competition, which has challenged professional artists and designers to creat artworks on temporary hoardings at construction sites to improve the streetscape;
  • The UK's Why Not Associates, which works with local municipalities to tell teh histories and stories of the people of the area on streets and footpaths and in other creative ways;


The Creative City Cultural Policy Discussion Paper presents eight directions in which the City proposes to focus its resources, while acknowledging that other priorities may emerge from community consultation:

  • Improving access, creating markets: The City could help maximise markets for cultural products and experiences. We want to ensure all residents, workers and visitors can participate in cultural activities, by helping to minimise barriers such as prohibitive costs, lack of accessible facilities and lack of awareness about what's on offer.
  • New avenues for creative participation: We could better support and facilitate the growth in creative expression by Sydneysiders at all levels, from jewellry-making workshops to making it easier for kids to learn a musical instrument.
  • A vibrant creative economy: We could continue to support the growth of Sydney's creative industries by backing small creative businesses, encouraging creative start-ups in innovative ways and exploring new forms of market development support for the cultural sector.
  • Fostering precinct distinctiveness: The unique identity of each community is enhanced by culture and creativity. We could actively encourage distinctive cultural and creative expression in each of the City's villages and promote grassroots projects including markets and public art.
  • A partner for big ideas: We want Sydney to be a city that is open to big ideas. We could partner on local and international projects that display outstanding creativity and imagination, inspiring our community and creating magical experiences for everyone.
  • Sector sustainabilit: surviving and thriving: We could continue to support Sydney's cultural sector by drawing on the City's resources, partnerships and knowledge to build stronger and more sustainable organisations and events.
  • Sharing knowledge: We want to help foster and encourage Sydney's hunger for new ideas. We could do this by supporting lifelong learning, and sharing and developing information and knowledge.
  • Global engagement: We want Sydney to be a magnet for the best thinkers, artists and cultural leaders of our time, and for these people to become engaged with our city on an ongoing basis.