Annual Report 2016

Click here to download the Annual Report as a PDF

The text from the report is below:



Executive Summary Kerry-Anne Jones, Executive Officer

South West Arts (SWA) was established in 1983 to support the promotion and development of arts and culture in the south west region of NSW.

South West Arts is supported by Arts NSW, Regional Arts NSW, 6 Local Government partners of Balranald Shire; Berrigan Shire; Carrathool Shire; Edward River Council; Hay Shire Council and Murray River Council as well as the communities in the South West of the state.

The South West Arts Strategic Business Plan 2016, focused on the key pillars of access, partnerships, capability and promotion with strategic project delivery and governance focusing on stakeholder and community engagement.

Some of the key activities launched and/or delivered during the reporting period were:

  • Launch and implementation of the 2016 regional project - Threads of our Communities

  • Implementation of The Passing Out Parade project funded by the ANZAC Centenary Fund

  • Launch of Art-e-Facts online creatives’ network and arts resource centre

  • Launch of the South West Region Digital Cultural Trail

  • Disability artist support program and exhibition

  • Art Out and Vintage Out – Easter Artisan Market Deniliquin

  • Support South West Music Regional Conservatorium with the Regional Concert Series

  • Individual artist and group project support

  • Strategic support for the development of Regional Arts and Cultural Strategic Plan and establishment of an regional arts hub

  • Shop Front Window Gallery expansion

  • CASP Funding Facilitation (2016) – $xx in Funding for Regional Projects

  • Launch of the new South West Arts Website

The arts sector in the south west is well placed to leverage the enormous wealth of creative talent that exists in the region thereby generating economic benefit for the region. South West Arts, through its Strategic Planning process and consultations in the later part of the year, has sent a clear message that South West Arts is not only listening, but is focused on delivering out comes for the economic benefit and social wellbeing of the region.

Report from the South West Arts Chair Airlie Circuitt, Chair

It is with pleasure I add these comments to the Annual Report of South West Arts Inc.

It has been an extraordinary year for the organisation in numerous ways and as you can see in the Executive Summary, the breadth and depth of the projects and professional support delivered to our region has been outstanding.

Threads of Our Community has been a massive success and has involved every school and every community small and large, across the SWA region. It has been a huge undertaking creatively and logistically, with many thousands of kilometres travelled to initiate participation in the project and then to bring the final exhibition of work to every Council in our region.

The Passing Out Parade promises to be another outstanding project and I am thrilled it will involve a collaboration between the three main arts based organisations in the region, South West Arts, Outback Theatre for Young People and the South West Music Regional Conservatorium. It is also involving a number of other creative and arts based groups and its reach will go far beyond the boundaries of the SWA.

Art-e-Facts, the ArtOut and Vintage Out Artisan market, the model of which is expanding to other towns in our region, the development of the Cultural Trail, the launch of the new website, facilitating the CASP funding, support for the South West Music Concert Series, support for the development of the Regional Arts and Cultural Strategic plan and working in collaboration with other passionate groups to establish an Arts Hub in Deniliquin are just some of the many roles undertaken by the Staff of South West Arts in the last twelve months.

Despite a long detour because of flood waters, our staff, two other Board members and I travelled to Dubbo last October for the bi-annual Artlands Conference. It was a very worthwhile few days and reinvigorated all of us by being part of such an interesting and informative program with excellent panel discussions, workshops and master classes.

Formal presentations have been made to our supporting Councils of Balranald, Berrigan, Murray River and Hay. Carrathool and Edward River Councils will be visited for presentations in the near future. However, all Councils have been the beneficiaries of many visits by both Staff and Board members for the delivery of projects and professional support during the previous twelve month.

While on the subject of our Councils, I would like to acknowledge the passing of two former Board members, Margaret Merrylees and Liz McLaurin. Margaret was the Carrathool Shire Delegate and Liz the Berrigan Shire Delegate. Both made very substantial contributions to South West Arts, which is a stronger organisation because of their involvement and on behalf of the Board and staff, I would like to extend our condolences to their families, friends and Council colleagues.

South West Arts is an organisation which not only identifies and fosters artistic talent and cultural opportunities in all their many and varied forms but one that actively provides professional and creative support and where possible, the resources to develop them.

However, none of that can happen in any meaningful way without the truly amazing people working in the organisation. Our Executive Director Kerry-Anne Jones is an extraordinary asset to SWA both professionally and creatively and the successes we have enjoyed over the last year are a direct result of her myriad talents.

She has been ably supported by our other extremely professional, creative and passionate Staff members, our Project Officer Spencer McGill and our Communications Officer Sivonne Binks, both of whom have invested time, energy and hard work to achieve the results we have.

I would like to thank our book keepers GS&T Accounting and Brian McCleary & Co, our Auditors.

South West Arts Inc is supported by Create NSW, Regional Arts NSW and our six local Government partners, the Councils of Balranald, Berrigan, Carrathool, Edward River, Hay and Murray River and I thank them for that continued support.

Last but by no means least, I would like to thank my fellow Board members Tertia Butcher, Jan Renwick, Jan Lawler, Robyn Davis, Kevin Simpson and Dee Crotty. We are passionate about providing the best possible governance and guidance for the organisation, and the unity between the Board and staff will see South West Arts go from strength to strength in the coming years.

Our Region

The South West Region of NSW covers a geographic area of approximately 78,000 square kilometres and a population of over 38,000 people. Deniliquin is the largest population centre in the region and is the community in which the South West Arts office is located.

The region incorporates the municipalities of Balranald Shire, Berrigan Shire, Carrathool Shire, Edward River Council, Hay Shire and Murray River Council and their rich communities and cultures.

The region has an emerging arts and cultural sector which is playing an ever increasing role in the economic wealth and social diversity of the region. Significantly, arts and culture initiatives and collaborations are gaining momentum and importance in tourist visitation to the region, educational and cultural learning opportunities and in creating employment and self-determination pathways for indigenous and non-indigenous youth.

The region is gifted with creative talent in all sectors of the arts with individuals supported by dynamic and skilled organisations such as South West Music Regional Conservatorium; Outback Theatre for Young People; numerous galleries and museums; writers, performance and visual arts groups; Indigenous organisations and festival and event committees. All of which are underpinned by vibrant and enthusiastic volunteers, supporters and sponsors.

Financial Summary

South West Arts received revenue of $214,098.00. Expenditure for the year totalled $239,143.69 equating to an operating loss of $25,045.69. Approval of the Board was sought and approved for the non-budgeted expenditure and included additional project expenditure on the Threads of Our Communities regional project and for the appointment of a dedicated part time Communications Officer.

Hence, retained earnings at the commencement of the year were $136,029.05; $110,983.36 at the conclusion of the year.

Project expenditure for 2017 is reliant on grant funding and in-kind support from partner organisations and community volunteers.

South West Arts has maintained a strong financial position moving forward into 2017 but remains reliant on the ongoing funding commitment from its Local Government partners to maintain this position. Significantly, the core Local Government partner cash contributions totalled $45,283.54 for the period.


Threads of our Communities

Partnership with West Darling Arts LGA Leadership and Advocacy – Hay Shire Council

The South West Region and West Darling Region of NSW have strong ties to the agricultural industry, in particular that of wool and cotton. “Threads of our Communities” was developed as a community engagement program, celebrating the fibre arts and crafts that emerged with the growth of wool and cotton production and the diversity of the communities in which we live.

This project engaged schools, crafters, the elderly, disability groups, indigenous artists through to emerging and established artists.

Project Outcomes included:

  • Official Project Launch by the Mayor of Hay Shire Council in Hay 2016 June attended by approximately 200 students and residents

  • Regional Engagement Tour called the “Stitch Stop Tour” to 24 communities across the region inviting community members to participate in a giant interactive knitting activity. Over 1000 people from across the region were directly engaged in the giant knitting.

  • French knitting also known as Knitting Nancy kits were given to every primary school child in the region.

  • 4000 kits were compiled utilising donated yarn which were hand rolled by over 100 individuals.

  • A school based fibre flower making initiative saw around 1000 fibre art flowers planted as part of a major art installation at the biennial National Art Conference in Dubbo in October 2016 –ArtLands.

  • Touring Fibre Art Exhibition and art prize visited 9 towns across the region. The exhibition was launched in Balranald attracting approximately 800 people over five days and has been visited by more than 4000 people.

  • Fibre based art activities and/or public artworks have been created at various regional events. The most significant was the creation of a quilted ute at the Deniliquin Ute Muster and was one of the most photographed exhibitions at the muster.

Threads of our Communities has directly engaged face-to-face over 8000 people, or more than 20% of our regional population.

The Passing Out Parade

Funded by the Anzac Centenary Fund

LGA Leadership and Advocacy – Berrigan Shire Council

“The Passing-out Parade” is a regional collaboration between South West Arts, six local councils, South West Music Regional Conservatorium, Outback Theatre for Young People, Creative writing groups, Schools, RSL sub branches and regional creative artists.

The project captures and celebrates the stories of men and women from the south west of NSW, both past and present that have participated in military service or provided support at home. “The Passing-out Parade” is a metaphor for the historic parade of people, faces and families that have influenced our region during times of war and conflict and aims to celebrate the spirit of the ANZAC from a rural perspective.

The project deliverables include:

  • Collation of personal histories from each municipality within the region with the purpose of developing creative stories of the Anzac legacy

  • Audio recordings/radio presentation/podcast a professionally narrated suite of the stories to create a mini series of content for radio, web, pod cast and audio book

  • Performance and theatre production by students of the Outback Theatre for Young People.

  • Students and tutors of the South West Music Regional Conservatorium will write and record musical score to support the audio series.


LGA Leadership and Advocacy – Edward River Council

Art-e-Facts is a Creative Skills Exchange Network that allows for regional artists to connect, share, exchange skills and learn from other artists via web based news, resources, seminar programs and social network.

The project incorporates:

Artists sharing various skillsets amongst the network and wider community

  • Web, Video, Webinars, Chat rooms

  • Information and resource material

  • Cross promotional activities

  • Event promotion and “how-to” resources

  • Artist profiles, interviews and skills sharing

Art-E-Facts is a digital platform and can be found at the South West Arts website. The project was officially launched May 2016.

Regional Cultural Trail

LGA Leadership and Advocacy – Murray River Council

The Cultural Trail was launched in May 2016 and showcases the culture, art and experiences in the South West Arts region. The aim of the initiative is to encourage increased visitation within the region to support regional economic and tourism development.

The project is a digital wed based trail that features:

  • Local artisan makers/sellers

  • Arts and cultural galleries, museums and experiences

  • Information and resource material

  • Public Art experiences

  • Regional Providore opportunities

The trail can be accessed via the South West Arts Website @

Disability Artist Support Program and Exhibition

Outback Silhouettes workshops and Exhibition were developed and implemented by Narelle Whitham, an artist with disability for artists with disability.

Supported by South West Arts in partnership with Intereach Deniliquin, Narelle presented a series of workshops that would enable participants to complete an artwork for exhibition. These works, together with pieces created by Narelle herself, formed the basis for an exhibition at the Peppin Heritage Centre in Deniliquin in December 2016.

During the year, Narelle also wrote and published a book detailing her journey with disability through art.

ArtOut and VintageOut

LGA Leadership and Advocacy – Edward River Council

Art Out and Vintage Out Artisan market was held Easter Saturday in the picturesque Waring Gardens, Deniliquin. The market attracted over 25 stallholders and several thousand visitors and featured plein air painters from the Australian Plein Air Artists Group, musicians, quality handmade artesian goods and hand selected high quality vintage wares.

New Website and Communications Plan

The development of a communications plan improved the reach of South West Arts across traditional and digital media. There has been an increased focus on the creation and sharing of digital content to appeal to a wider range of audiences through social media.

South West Arts welcomed a dedicated communications officer, Sivonne Binks, in May 2016. This role has helped to increase the reach of our projects across the community.

Regular South West Arts bulletins continue to promote arts and culture activities, upcoming events, news stories and opportunities in the region. They are a valuable tool for providing information on the latest arts and culture grants and funding available for business, community groups and individual artists in the region.

Our new website, created in December, allows South West Arts to highlight more digital content such as videos and artist profiles and to provide greater access to grants, information, news and events in the region.

Country Arts Support Program (CASP)

South West Arts managed the assessment of applications to the CASP in 2016. This was the first year that the Program’s application and assessment process would be delivered entirely on-line. While a more modernised process, it was not without its challenges for applicants from our region with unreliable internet connections making the application process impractical. As a result, the number of applications from our region was down on prior years.

Nine applications were received, totalling over $40,000. Total 2016 funding allocation for each region was $17,141. Six projects were successful in receiving funding in the South West Arts Region. The successful projects were:

Moama Commumnity Garden Mural Project - Murray River Council $3,500 A regional artist will be engaged to work with the community to paint a mural on a wall at the Moama Community Garden. The project will see garden users (including school children and people with disability) work with the artist to paint the mural.

Yaryins Workshops - Larnangurag Aboriginal Corporation $3,400 The Yaryins Workshops will gather Aboriginal woman to run ‘Connection to Country’ workshops to strengthen cultural well-being through traditional Wemba- Wemba songs in language, campfire cooking bush tucker, traditional stories, poetry, art, basket weaving and sharing of Aboriginal history.

Recollections Past and Present - Balranald Inc. $2,560 The aim of the project is for a diversity of community members to be trained on how to preserve historical documents, photographs, film and data relating to our community and surrounds. The project involves 2 X 2 day workshops (four workshops in total).

Tactile Sculpting - Edward River Art Society $3,670 Creation of tactile sculptures that capture the individual characteristics of the subject, in this case fauna, and invite others to feel these contours in a celebration of their majestic presence.

Deniliquin Uke Muster Festival 2017 - Deniliquin Club Ukulele Committee $3,000 The Deni Uke Muster will bring a highly experienced ukulele act to the Festival in November 2017. The artist will support the professional development of the group and increase the profile of the event.

Writers Workshops - Deniliquin Creative Writers Inc. $1,000 These workshops will enable the members of the Deniliquin Creative Writers to better understand the editing process to writing professional standard stories.

Window Gallery Expansion

Establishment of the SWA window gallery at the SWA Deniliquin office as proven to be an excellent sales platform for both established and emerging artists. The aim of the Gallery is to promote regional artists and showcase works in an accessible and supported location.

Supporting Live Music

South West Arts is a proud partner of the South West Music Regional Conservatorium Concert Series and is an active member of the Concert Committee.

The 2016 concert program comprised:

  • Jane Rutter –Classical Flautist

  • The Swing Merchants – Jazz Band

  • Emma Pask – Vocalist, Pianist

  • Eugene Alcalay – Classical Pianist

Regional Arts and Culture Strategy

South West Arts is supporting members of the regional community to undertake a strategic planning process aimed at identifying the needs and opportunities to establish a regional centre of collaboration for arts and cultural development in the plains of southern NSW and northern Victoria.

This project is being funded by Edward River Council and facilitated by Regional Development Australia – Murray. The strategic planning process is due for completion in 2017.

Community Engagement and Support

Engagement with key personnel in each local Council and regional organisation within the region was an integral component of SWA’s community engagement and project development. Together the LGA’s, key regional organisations such as South West Regional Conservatorium of Music and Outback Theatre for Young People, with SWA, provided the platforms for building a community of creative projects across the region.

This engagement and strengthening of the partnerships would help individual artists and groups in the region to connect, communicate and collaborate with each other and with other networks to improve creative outcomes in the region.

South West Arts would like to acknowledge the following organisation’s and volunteers that provided wonderful support to assist in the delivery of our 2016 program:

  • Anne Robertson – Mathoura

  • Debbie Duggan – Mathoura

  • Margaret Jefferies - Deniliquin

  • Martin Sckazel – Executive Director Committee for Echuca-Moama

  • Jenny Williams – Shire of Campaspe

  • Narelle Whitham – Artist Moulamein

  • Crown Plastics - Sydney

  • Erin Heane - Brave Fabrics

  • Carlin Cohn – Brave Fabrics

  • Steph Cavanach – The Spot Gallery, Hay

  • Connie Rasmussen - Balranald

  • Balranald Art Gallery

  • Hillston Red Dust and Paddy Melon Gallery

  • Tocumwal War Memorial Hall Committee

  • West Darling Arts

Find us on social media

  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • YouTube - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle

South West Arts is supported by the
NSW Government
through Create NSW