Arts economy growing on Tasmania’s west coast

Article image - Arts economy growing on Tasmania’s west coast Mayor, Phil Vickers and Chair of The Unconformity, Rick Snell combine forces to develop local arts and culture as a commodity on Tasmania’s West Coast. Photo courtesy Westcoast Council.

West Coast Council, Tasmania, has signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with local community arts and culture group The Unconformity. 

The MOU, signed by Mayor, Phil Vickers and The Unconformity Chair, Rick Snell last month, will see West Coast Council support The Unconformity Festival, Queenstown’s biennial arts festival, 16-18 October 2020, associated events and ongoing cultural and creative development in the region.

Mayor Vickers said, “The West Coast boasts a growing cultural and artistic community that increasingly contributes to our economy. 

“The Unconformity has been a leader in implementing projects that not only attract visitation to the region but also grows the cultural capital of the West Coast for our community. 

“It makes sense for Council to partner with and support the growth of The Unconformity, this can only be in the best interests of our community and is a key step to diversifying our economic base and attracting new visitors and residents to our towns.”

As part of the MOU, Council will provide a former church hall in Queenstown to The Unconformity, through a peppercorn lease.

In return, The Unconformity will lead efforts to secure funding to restore and refurbish the building and investigate future cultural plans for the precinct. Further, Council will support The Unconformity through social media, letters of support, road closures, waste management and other services as appropriate.

In turn, The Unconformity has committed to seeking funding for and implementing projects that increase the cultural and creative economy of the region and will contribute towards development of a Creative and Cultural Economy Strategy for the West Coast and invest in programs that support the region’s artists. 

As a service to the community, they will also support grant writing workshops to help other community groups and organisations attract grant funds to their own projects.

Chair of the Unconformity, Rick Snell said, “The Unconformity is pleased that the West Coast Council understands that in Western Tasmania, arts and culture is not a luxury and optional extra for the region. 

“This partnership steps outside the traditional relationship between a small regional council and a local home grown community organisation and allows exciting developments in enhancing an already emerging creative and cultural economy for
the whole region.”