Coffs Coast creatives in need of more opportunities to network

Olivia Parker, Executive Director, Arts Mid North Coast. Photo: andthetreesphotography.

ARTS Mid North Coast are undertaking a comprehensive research project aimed at understanding the pulse of the region’s arts community.

To learn more, they hosted a meeting which 50 artists and arts workers from Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and the Nambucca Valley attended.

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The project seeks to identify the pressing issues, unmet needs and existing gaps within the creative sector so that Arts Mid North Coast can plan strategically for the future with their projects and programs.

“It’s part of a sector mapping research project to understand who the artists are and what are the issues,” Olivia Parker, Executive Director, Arts Mid North Coast told NOTA.

“Then we collate the data and present it to Create NSW as part of our strategic plan, so we wanted to make sure it was evidence-based by being informed by the community.

“It’s always such a great pleasure to meet new people at these gatherings, new artists and arts workers moving into the community,” said Olivia.

“There’s always new faces at these meetings.”

Olivia said a major issue for local creatives was a lack of networking opportunities.

“It’s good for the artists to meet each other as it’s one of the major issues that people say there are not enough opportunities to meet creative people, especially for people who work alone to be inspired and to get support from each other.”

A current survey by Arts Mid North Coast reveals that out of 82 respondents so far, nineteen percent say their creative practice is their main source of income, with artists supplementing their income with other work like teaching or working in youth services.

“We are experiencing a downturn with the greater economy, and there’s a lot of people in financial stress.

“Usually at times like this, artists are the first to go because people’s priorities and concerns are about paying mortgages and coping with the housing crisis,” said Olivia.

“We know it’s hard and there’s no easy answers, but we encourage the community, local businesses and councils to get behind our artists and creative sector – support their work, attend an event or workshop and try to buy local and handmade.”


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