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Arts Precinct to benefit from $17.2 million “summer package”

11 Nov 2020

Arts Precinct to benefit from $17.2 million “summer package” Image

By Katie Johnson

After many months of harsh lockdowns, Southbank’s Arts Precinct is set to burst back to life in summer with the help of a $17.2 million state government package. 

The Summer Activations program will enable Melbourne’s beloved arts and music festivals to go ahead in a COVID-safe manner and allow cultural institutions to bring their experiences outside. 

Newly-appointed Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson said that the package would bring back “all the things we love about Melbourne in summer”. 

“This extensive program will showcase Victoria’s incredible creative talent, deliver thousands of jobs and reinvigorate our creative, hospitality and events sectors,” Mr Pearson said. 

“It’s a great day for Melbourne, a great day for Victoria, and this is going to be a summer like no other.”

$7.9 million of the package will go to institutions such as Arts Centre Melbourne to help them to bring their experiences outside on a large scale. 

Arts Centre Melbourne has already planned to transform the Sidney Myer Music Bowl into a COVID-safe venue that will host 40 performances from January to March as part of its Live at the Bowl summer festival. 

A full list of the performances will be announced in early December, but the first performance is expected to be Christmas carols. 

Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Claire Spencer said that after a tough lockdown, it was a “real joy” to announce the return of live performances. 

“We’ll have classical music, contemporary music, dance music, comedy, theatre and programs for young people and families,” Ms Spencer said. 

“So, there will be something for everybody at the Bowl during summer.” 

To make the Bowl COVID-safe, platforms will be built into the side of the hill to keep groups separate, queuing will look different, hospitality venues will adhere to safety protocols and the venue will not operate at full capacity. 

All up, the transformation is expected to create up to 2000 jobs in the creative and events industries. 

National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) will also be bringing their events outdoors from December, with dining and music to take place in the NGV Garden. 

In January the NGV Triennial EXTRA Festival will take place outside, hosting weeks of late-night free performances, dance and community programs. 

State Library Victoria, ACMI, Melbourne Recital Centre and Federation square will also activate their outdoor spaces with creative experiences ranging from live music to storytelling. 

There’s good news for cinema lovers too, as Museums Victoria will present their Summa Plaza series which offers outdoor performances and open-air movies curated by IMAX Melbourne.

In addition to funding arts institutions, almost $4.3 million of funding will go towards moving festivals such as the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Midsumma, Shepparton Arts Festival and Creative Clunes outdoors. 

Mr Pearson said that this announcement would be the first of many and more details were soon to come about which events would take place in Southbank. 

“Today is a really important step to make sure we get back to a COVID-normal version of the Southbank we once had,” Mr Pearson said. 

In October, Minister Pearson also announced that Victoria would be relaunching the “Creative State Strategy” – a policy introduced in 2016 to provide funding and boost growth in all levels of the creative industries.

“The creative industries are at the heart of Victoria’s economy, the vibrancy of our communities and our way of life – and will be essential in our post-pandemic recovery,” he said.

The announcement came with $115 million in funding and an extensive survey for Victorian artists to provide feedback on what they think is needed to help boost the industry.

Artscentremelbourne.com.au

 

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