Mining town to cultural hub
Mackay Regional Council is seeking to change its image as a mining region to be recognised as a culturally significant visitor destination.
After extensive consultation, the 2016-2020 Arts and Cultural Plan was approved at a recent Community Engagement Standing Committee meeting.
Committee chair Cr Kevin Casey said the extensive consultation process had involved community brainstorming sessions, online discussion groups, which attracted more than 400 members, as well as survey data.
“We had a really successful consultation process on this project, which allowed us to obtain input from hundreds of different stakeholders from right across our region,” he said.
Cr Casey said the outcome had been the development of a comprehensive plan, which would provide the strategic framework to guide council in making decisions regarding the development of all forms of art, culture and local heritage.
“It will also help us to see where we need to engage more with the broader cultural community,” he said.
“Our vision is a vibrant and culturally-rich region that supports a diverse, robust and creative community.
“Ideally, we’d like to change the perception of Mackay as a mining town and instead create a reputation of an artistic and culturally significant destination that will attract visitors from outside our region.
“We really want to make the arts available and inclusive of everyone who wishes to contribute to our community’s creativity.
“After all, we believe arts and cultural activity benefits the whole community, whether it’s through one of our many events such as Global Grooves or Greenmount Heritage Fair, or through community art projects which add to the vibrancy of public spaces.”
Cr Casey said the consultation had outlined some clear goals moving forward that council was keen to implement.
“The community has expressed a desire for greater access to art exhibitions with broad appeal, and that is something that we’ll be able to implement almost immediately when planning future exhibitions at our facilities,” he said.
“The community is also interested in gaining greater access to our region’s museums and heritage collection and that is something that we are already working towards, with extended museum opening hours and a new home for the Libraries’ Heritage Collection in the Dudley Denny City Library.
“The plan also reconfirms our commitment to employ, support and showcase local talent at all our festivals, events and wherever possible.”