The wonderful success of the 2017 Festival of Wind is an excellent reminder of the significant contribution that the arts can – and do – make to community life in Esperance.
It is also significant that the 12 major festival events, run from March 12-19 were coordinated almost entirely by volunteers.
Anyone who has ever been involved in organising a community event will know what an enormous amount of time and effort goes into bringing a festival to life, from sourcing funding through to setting up and packing down.
The festival, like other big community events, involves months of work.
This volunteer effort needs to be properly supported by appropriate levels of investment if it is to be sustainable in the long term.
This means employing people to provide administrative and project management support for the passionate volunteers who give their time and expertise so generously to put these community events on.
Creation of local employment in the arts also extends the socio-economic benefits these of activities.
A well-resourced Peak Arts body can provide important background support in this context, through a variety of means; by assisting with marketing and promotion, through lobbying and advocacy, by sourcing grant funds and sponsorship, and by providing access to resources, networks and advice for artists and arts groups amongst other things.
The 2016 Esperance Arts Review, coordinated by Esperance Community Arts and conducted by Karrak Consulting, identified a number of areas the community wanted to see the local Peak Arts Body expand in terms of the support it provides to artists and arts groups.
In October, representatives of Esperance Community Arts’ 19 member groups were invited to nominate for a working group charged with developing a response to the recommendations of the Esperance Arts Review report.
Members of this group; Ronnie Young (Esperance Drumming Group), Ken Mills (Esperance Brass Band), Thuriyya Ibrahim (Recherche Writers), Claire Mitchell (Cannery Arts Centre), Meredith Waters (Individual Member) , Doug Murray (Esperance Phtographers Club), Jayne Arnold (Shire of Esperance), Samara Clark (Festival of the Wind), and Jo Aberle (Escare) contributed many volunteers hours to develop a practical and considered response.
The diligence, clear thinking and genuine desire of these individuals to develop an even more collaborative future for the arts in Esperance is to be commended.
Governance processes are not always easy or even enjoyable – but they are essential. Our thanks go to those willing volunteers.
After much consultation, the Working Party’s response was endorsed by 14 of Esperance Community Arts’ financial groups and individual members on March 21, providing a clear mandate for a unified way forward.
This response is now publicly available and has been sent to the Shire of Esperance and Country Arts WA, the core funding bodies, for their feedback. It recommends a number of changes that will further strengthen the role of the Esperance Peak Arts Body, including a new governance structure and a process of re-branding.
For more information contact Esperance Community Arts on 9072 1158, message on Facebook, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit at 67 Dempster Street from 10am-2pm, Tuesday-Friday.