Our Director, John O’Callaghan, was recently invited to Chair the Western Sydney Making Spaces Initiative Assessment Panel for Create NSW. The Making Spaces Initiative will provide funding (up to $60,000) to enable professional artists and arts organisations to create their work in new studios, artists’ residencies and rehearsal spaces in Western Sydney.

During the panel, a shortlist of over 30 submissions were reviewed, assessed and evaluated against Create NSW criteria – artistic and cultural merit, engagement and participation, viability and budget.

In his role as Chair, John was asked to lead the assessment meeting and ensure all policies and procedures were adhered to while endorsing the meeting minutes and panel recommendations. He was also asked to apply his experience in place making to the assessment of applications and their potential in activating space and engaging with the wider community.

Key findings from the panel included –

  • the growing need (and competitive demand) for affordable art space in Sydney (for emerging and established artists)
  • the extensive depth and variety of artist submissions with the intention to create or make art works (including emerging fields such as the Digital Arts)
  • the importance of submissions to include supporting documentation and established partnerships
  • the intention and proven capacity of artists to rejuvenate places and communities (beyond their studio or exhibition space)
  • the collaborative nature of the arts and creative industries

The successful applicants will receive their funding over the coming months and will be required to deliver their initiative(s) over the next 2 years. You can also read more about one of the recipients, Lost In Books, here.