The Shire of Augusta Margaret River Council has pledged $150,000 in grant funding to be made widely available to the community to support cultural and arts events within the newly redeveloped Hub of Entertainment, Arts and Regional Tourism (Margaret River HEART).
The 'Community Culture and Arts Development Fund' was endorsed at the council meeting on Wednesday, August 28, alongside the recommendation for the Shire to have full management of the facility - paving the way for the future job creation, traineeships and volunteering opportunities for the community.
With the new $10 million dollar venue set to open its doors in the near future, shire chief executive officer Stephanie Addison-Brown said the decision reflected the council's commitment to ensuring social inclusion and accessibility for the whole community.
"For the first time individuals, schools and community groups will have access to Shire funding to help create a range of events and activities at Margaret River HEART that will really reflect our diverse community," Ms Addison-Brown said.
"The grants are an ideal way to harness creativity from members of our community to collectively deliver arts and culture projects at the new state-of the art facility."
In a statement, the shire said it was keen to deliver an economic return to the community with the introduction of business tourism highlighted as one of the venue's core activities.
"Spending by business tourists contributes directly to the local economy via accommodation, food and beverage spending, touring, leisure activities and shopping," the statement read.
"Revenue generated by Margaret River HEART will be redirected back into venue operations, assisting to reduce reliance on ratepayer funding.
The Shire said the new venue would continue to host a range of professional performing arts, commercial cinema, festivals and major touring shows.
"Coupled with the introduction of grassroots culture and arts activities via the new grant program, Margaret River HEART promises to deliver an exciting program of events to the community."
Shire councillors thanked the former managers of the Cultural Centre, Arts Margaret River, for their commitment in delivering the cultural and arts program over their most recent six-year contract, which concludes in December, 2019.
The shire will now begin negotiations for the transitional period, including a possible financial contribution to subsidise the organisation's ongoing operating costs.
Information on the Community Culture and Arts Development Fund will be made publicly available shortly.
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