Opinion: Arts is becoming the best in the west

Working alongside creatives in the arts world, I often hear: “there isn’t much opportunity for us in Australia”.

Katrina Vo

Katrina Vo

But I beg to differ. 

There isn’t a single passing week when an exhibition, performance or festival isn’t being presented around the nation, in particular, in western Sydney.

Western Sydney is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia and has 47 per cent of greater Sydney’s residents. Over the next 20 years, its population is expected to increase to more than three million.

It’s one of NSW’s most multicultural regions with a population representing more than half the world’s nations and is proving to be an innovative arts and cultural hub.

Major events such as the Sydney Festival, FOMO Festival, The Plot and the 50 Cent Australian Tour 2018 (just to name a few) are attracting new audiences and providing growth opportunities.

The west is also home to important arts facilities, including Bankstown Arts Centre, Blacktown Arts Centre, Casula Powerhouse, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Fairfield City Museum and Gallery, The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre and Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres.

These centres are essential to western Sydney creatives in presenting vibrant programs that draw upon the best of the region’s arts and culture to tell the stories of their communities.

The National Theatre of Parramatta called western Sydney home after launching in 2015 and has received more than $1 million in funding annually for the first four years. The proof is in the pudding.

Operating out of the Riverside Theatres, the theatre company aims to “put the nation on the stage”, said one of the directors Annette Shun Wah. 

As the third largest economy in Australia, western Sydney has to compete with Melbourne’s famous laneway culture and Sydney’s glamorous habourside lifestyle.

Never before has there been such rapid change driven by creativity and innovation.

Never before has there been more engagement, participation or curiosity about art and culture in our everyday lives.

With such a diverse community, western Sydney has the potential to become Australia’s premier arts and cultural mecca.

What a time to be alive!

  • Katrina Vo is the lifestyle and entertainment journalist for Fairfax Media’s north-west Sydney publications.