House debates

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

Constituency Statements

Newcastle Electorate: Arts and Culture

4:28 pm

Photo of Sharon ClaydonSharon Claydon (Newcastle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

We are very lucky in Newcastle to have such a strong, vibrant and extremely talented arts community. Not only are we home to the world-class Newcastle Art Gallery, which boasts some of the finest public art works in regional Australia; Newcastle has also been home to and produced some of Australia's greatest artists, including Jon Molvig, William Dobell and John Olsen. The much-loved Margaret Olley also lived and painted in Newcastle, and we remain a strong breeding ground for contemporary and emerging artists and creators because we have some extraordinary and exceptional arts organisations, which I want to celebrate today.

First is the amazing Young People's Theatre, or YPT as it's affectionately known in Newcastle, which just yesterday celebrated the 50 years since they purchased their theatre building in Hamilton in my electorate. This remarkable milestone coincides with their 75th anniversary, which they will officially celebrate in August. Over their 75 years in operation, YPT has provided countless opportunities for thousands of young creatives in 194 productions. I wish the YPT a very happy birthday, and I wish you the very best for your celebrations.

I also want to pay tribute to Newcastle Art Space and their nurturing of the Hunter Emerging Art Prize, now in its 20th year. I'll give a very big shout out to the winner of the 2023 prize, Aidan Gageler, and all of the incredible finalists. Newcastle Art Space was established as Newcastle Community Arts Centre 40 years ago this year. They have been integral in fostering and supporting local creatives.

Last week I had the pleasure of hosting Labor's Special Envoy for the Arts, the Member for Macquarie, in Newcastle. We had a very special tour of The Lock-Up, which is an award-winning, unique contemporary art space housed in Newcastle's original police station built in the 1800s. It features a nationally renowned artists-in-residence program.

We then held a roundtable with the Newcastle arts community to talk about Revive, Australia's cultural policy for the next five years. It's called Revive for a reason. The arts community has been doing it tough, and, after 10 years of neglect by the former Liberal government, it's time we backed in our artists and creatives. I want to tell our artists and creatives, not just in Newcastle but everywhere: you now have a federal government that actually cares about the arts and will put the arts and culture front and centre in our decision-making.

I want to say a very big thank you to the Newcastle Art Gallery, University of Newcastle art gallery, Watt Space Gallery, CONDA, Catapult Dance, Big Apachee, Newcastle Art Space, Hunter Creative Alliance, Newcastle Writers Festival, YPT, Awabakal land council, Newcastle Theatre Company and Tantrum Youth Arts for their fabulous attendance. Thank you.


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