The G21 region creative industries sector is facing major challenges, with COVID-19 forcing many creatives to shut doors, cease live performances and suffer an abrupt drop in revenue.
Freelancers and small businesses in the sector have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions and related economic fallout.
The state government helped with a $150 million survival package for sports and cultural sectors. The Geelong Arts Centre was an early recipient of this, receiving more than $400,000 to help counter the impact of forced closure and the cancellation of scheduled performances and events. There were many other small operators remunerated with this region-wide.
In response to the pandemic, many organisations moved the delivery of their programs and events online. This included 360° virtual tours of gallery collections, online musical and theatre events and innovative online digital programs.
Important to the COVID-19 recovery is the continued renewal of the Geelong Arts Centre. The $128 million Little Malop Street redevelopment is underway and will significantly expand the capacity of the Centre, with multiple new performance venues, an upgraded box office and refurbished back-of-house.
Lendlease has been appointed to deliver the project, and importantly, they will participate in the GROW (G21 Region Opportunities for Work) initiative, and ensure local suppliers and tradespeople, including social enterprises, are invited to tender on works packages throughout construction.
In exciting news, the Creative Industries Strategy for the G21 region has commenced after receiving a grant from Regional Development Victoria. This project will develop a framework that aims to strengthen and grow the G21 region’s creative industries and the value they bring to the community.
There has been significant infrastructure investment in recent years. It is now important to lever this advantage to grow and evolve our arts, cultural and creative sector with a focus on amplifying our local creative voices, supporting cultural and economic development and boosting the capacity of the sector.
From G21’s Report to the Region 2020