Western Sydney has a strong and vibrant arts and cultural environment.
Over 1.7 million people live in the Greater Western Sydney region, representing 42 per cent of the population of Sydney, and as the fastest growing region in NSW, this is projected to increase to 2.18 million by 2020. The region also has the largest urban Aboriginal population in Australia and is home to many other cultural communities and languages, with Arabic being the most commonly spoken language outside English.
Western Sydney arts facilities
In recognition of the diversity and vitality of culture in Western Sydney, the NSW Government, in partnership with local government in Western Sydney, jointly invested over $55 million in capital infrastructure in between 2002 and 2010.
Capital projects supported by Arts NSW since 2002 include:
- Campbelltown Arts Centre opened in June 2005. This facility is a centrepiece for contemporary multidisciplinary arts in Sydney’s South West.
- Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre. This centre has been doubled in size and now provides a permanent home for the Railway Street Theatre Company.
- Blacktown Arts Centre is a former Anglican church converted into an impressive contemporary multi-arts space.
- Parramatta Riverside Theatres were upgraded to provide new internal and external performance spaces.
- Parramatta Artists’ Studios were developed in partnership with Parramatta City Council to provide 15 affordable studio spaces for artists.
- Penrith Regional Gallery and the Lewers Bequest developed a new gallery, café, research library and archive.
- Bankstown City Council is developing the Bankstown Arts Centre, to permanentlyaccommodate: Urban Theatre Projects, Bankstown Youth Development Service and Citymoon Youth Theatre.
- Hawkesbury Regional Museum – a new regional museum has been built at Windsor.
- Liverpool PCYC – a band room, DJ booth and a music recording studio have been established to provide young people of the region with a professional recording centre.
- Fairfield School of Arts - the Powerhouse Youth Theatre has been relocated here in refurbished space.
- Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre – a major refurbishment of the centre has been undertaken.
Arts NSW continues to support the arts in Western Sydney. Over $4 million of the 2012 Arts Funding Program was allocated to benefit the arts and cultural sector in the area.
Organisations in Western Sydney which receive funding from Arts NSW include:
State cultural institutions
Two of the State’s cultural institutions have facilities located in Western Sydney. The Historic Houses Trust of NSW has two house museums, Elizabeth Farm and Rouse Hill House & Farm – this includes a schoolhouse to give today’s students a unique insight into life in the 1800s and a new education centre.
The Museum of Applied Arts & Science’s off-site storage and collection care facility, called the Powerhouse Discovery Centre, is located at Castle Hill. The Discovery Centre houses 40 per cent of the Museum’s collection (by volume), or about 50,000 objects. The centre’s aim is to provide a world-standard museum storage and collection care facility that is publicly accessible to diverse audiences through a range of tailored behind-the-scenes programs. Its access programs include monthly public open days; themed supervised tours into stores on site; educational programs and workshops, tours for school groups and special-interest groups; school holiday programs; community engagement programs; regional partnership events; and specialist/industry and professional development programs.