Going digital supports arts

Article image - Going digital supports arts City of Armadale supporting the Arts by livestreaming performances and visual arts demonstrations during lockdown.

When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, many business sectors were hit hard, but none more than the arts sector.

City of Armadale, Western Australia, has a deep-rooted reputation for supporting and celebrating the arts from facilitating the Armadale Arts Festival, the long-standing art awards such as the Minnawarra Art Awards established in 1997, and Rediscover Armadale: A Walking Urban Art Trail showcasing local, national and international artists through a series of murals and artworks in public spaces.

Mayor, Ruth Butterfield, said, “Government bans had stopped all public gatherings, and many local creatives faced huge hits to their income.

“The City of Armadale stepped in with the #artistsofarmadale project to support local creatives and provide opportunities for community connectivity through digital performances, demonstrations, and tutorials.

“Armadale has a highly active and talented creative community with a rich culture and focus on artistic production.

“The City is committed to partnering with our local creatives, which while providing an income stream for the local arts industry, is also about meeting community needs, who during the pandemic more than ever, can benefit from engaging with the arts and also with each other through the arts.”

The #artistsofarmadale project employed 48 artists to livestream music performances or visual art demonstrations over Facebook for a duration of two months presenting 18 performances for online audiences showcasing multiple art forms. Public response was overwhelmingly positive, exceeding expectations.

The over 35,000 views (captured within the duration of the project) were attributed to strong live audience numbers, as well as those who watched or re-watched footage soon afterwards (the videos remained accessible after the livestream).

Audience comments and reactions were very positive and demonstrated the strong sense of community spirit and pride that resides in Armadale. Responses from participating artists and musicians were also overwhelmingly positive, many of whom had little or no experience with online streaming beforehand but became more comfortable and would be likely to use it in the future.

Artists were paid based on current industry standards, in line with the project’s objective to provide employment to artists, while meeting widespread community needs for engagement
and entertainment.