Funding for BREC residency to boost regional artists

Ailish DelaneyBunbury Herald
Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre executive director Fiona de Garis is excited for next year’s artist residency.
Camera IconBunbury Regional Entertainment Centre executive director Fiona de Garis is excited for next year’s artist residency. Credit: Nicolette Barbas

Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre is helping regional independent artists break down some of the barriers they face in the performance industry, thanks to funding from the State Government.

The centre received more than $44,000 to deliver its second weekend artist residency next year for a group of 20 creatives from the South West and Great Southern.

BREC executive director Fiona de Garis, pictured, said regional artists often operated in isolation and without peer support or national networks, and the residency aimed to change this.

“They receive minimal producer support, have little chance to engage with experienced artists and leading arts organisations and lack knowledge and confidence in applying for opportunities and funding,” she said.

The BREC Artist Residency addresses all these issues and is a critical part of BREC’s commitment to support the development of sustainable careers for local artists.

BREC held its inaugural artist residency at Donnelly River in November 2019, with two artists selected to join the Perth Festival 2020 Artist Lab as a result.

“Debrief surveys showed that all artists felt re-inspired, reassured that their art had meaning and value and with an increased sense of being part of the Australian arts community,” Ms de Garis said.

Next year’s event will see an intensive weekend of collaboration from May 28 to 30.

“The residency provides a supportive, creative environment working with five nationally acclaimed mentors to test ideas, consider new collaborations and explore cross art form possibilities,” she said.

“Over time, the BREC Artist Residency will see more local stories on our stages being enjoyed by South West audiences — and then perhaps travelling the world.

“We hope to run it regularly as it is a model that works and really empowers artists to tell the stories of our place and time.

“We are hugely grateful for the funding support from the State Government, which allows us to offer this to artists free, ensuring that no one misses out given artists earn 21 per cent below the national average even when they combine their artistic practice with other employment.”

Interested artists can keep an eye out for a call for expressions of interest in early February.

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