City cuts funding to ACDC

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
The Arts and Cultural Development Council of Geraldton runs a number of workshops and exhibitions for Mid West artists throughout the year.
Camera IconThe Arts and Cultural Development Council of Geraldton runs a number of workshops and exhibitions for Mid West artists throughout the year. Credit: Midwest Times

Funding to the Arts and Cultural Development Council of Geraldton has been cut by the City of Greater Geraldton.

After significant State Government budget cuts to the Mid West Arts and Culture sector, the City has decided to refocus its arts funding into the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery.

The City took over operations of the gallery earlier this month after a 50 per cent cut in funding.

As part of a one-year service agreement, ACDC was receiving $40,000 from the City.

City chief executive Ken Diehm said the refocus was because ACDC was not meeting the requirements of the agreement.

“After reviewing the service agreement, the City found ACDC was not meeting its obligations, which included the absence of exhibitions and workshops in the first half of 2016,” he said.

“The City’s decision to redirect its funding into art gallery operations means we will be able to focus on greater community engagement and participation in the arts.

“The City recognises the vibrancy and creativity that the arts and cultural sector makes to our community and is one of the reasons why Geraldton is such a great place to live.”

ACDC chairwoman Eva Svanberg agreed the body was quiet at the start of 2016 but said this was because the organisation was relocated.

“Unfortunately we did have to have that five-month hiatus,” she said.

“The lease ended in the old building and we had to prepare the space.

“ACDC has worked with the City for many years, including as a partner on the Festivals on the Foreshore event.

“We hope that this contribution won’t be forgotten.”

On top of the City’s grant, Country Arts WA chief executive Paul MacPhail said ACDC received around $30,000 a year from CAWA and the Royalties for Regions Creative Regions Program.

But Mr MacPhail said CAWA’s contribution was applicable only if there was support locally.

“The conditions of our grants are pretty clear in that there has to be some sort of local authority matching funding,” he said.

“If (ACDC) can’t get matched funding, that is going to be problematic for us in terms of the contract we have to sign on behalf of the State Government. “We hate to see any regional arts organisation in financial trouble and we’ll try everything to try and make sure we can continue a relationship with them.”

During an ACDC members’ forum on Saturday, January 28, attendees suggested integrating with the art gallery as a way for ACDC to continue with less funding.

But Mr Diehm said this was not an option.

“The City will not be integrating ACDC operations into the gallery at this stage,” he said.

“To allow a community arts organisation to permanently exhibit local content could impact on the State’s view of the gallery as class-A and could impact on the funding the City is given by the State.

“The City welcomes and encourages ACDC to work with the gallery to deliver workshops for the local artists and the community.”

Mr Diehm said ACDC was able to apply for grant funding via the City’s Community Grants Program.

The program offers a once-a-year grant of up to $20,000 for one-off events, activities or programs.

Applications for round 19 of funding are expected to open in July.

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