Many smaller and medium-sized organisations are based in NSW, adding texture and diversity to our cultural offerings. They also play a key role in developing artistic practice and knowledge.
The small to medium sector includes galleries, museums, conservatoriums, professional music ensembles, dance and theatre companies, project-based ensembles and cooperatives and presenting and producing venues. These organisations are vital for the sustainability of the arts sector, providing employment for many artists, dancers, actors, musicians, writers, directors, administrators, choreographers, dramaturges, curators, multi-media artists, composers, independent producers and technical staff.
Museums and galleries
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ records show that there are 621 historical societies, museums and galleries in NSW and there are indications that this sector is growing. These organisations are custodians of more than 8.5 million collection items. It is estimated that the State’s museums, galleries and historical societies are managed by approximately 375 employed staff and 3,944 volunteers. Visitor numbers to museums and galleries in NSW are estimated at a staggering 7-7.5 million per year.
The visual arts and craft sector includes 35 regional galleries, over 25 artist-run initiatives, contemporary art organisations and university galleries. Artist-run initiatives can be loosely defined as those facilities such as exhibition venues, studios, workshops and information and resource centres, which have been established and maintained on a co-operative basis by a group of artists and play a special role in providing opportunities for emerging artists. These spaces are incubators for the art of the future.
The 17 regional conservatoriums of NSW occupy a unique position within the state’s cultural framework. They connect with the community in providing education, training and performance opportunities. They also present concerts by local or visiting professional musicians. Arts NSW provides funding to regional conservatorium projects that enhance regional diversity, excellence and innovation in musical performance. This support is separate to the support regional conservatoriums receive directly from the Department of Education and Training for educational facilities. The NSW regional conservatoriums are based in the following locations:
Writers’ centres based in Armidale, Broken Hill, Byron Bay, Katoomba, Newcastle, Orange, Sydney, Wagga Wagga, and Wollongong form a statewide infrastructure for literature. They assist emerging NSW writers and also run projects partnered with libraries, bookshops, reading groups, film clubs, local history groups and various other segments of the community to promote writing and reading.
Small to medium professional performing arts companies
NSW has a dynamic and vibrant small to medium performing arts sector creating and presenting work. The sector encompasses a large range of styles and genres including physical theatre, circus, contemporary dance, theatre and dance for young people, new music, opera, choirs and ensembles with a particular focus on new works. While there are too many small to medium performing arts companies in NSW to list, the following are an example of the range of styles and genres this vibrant sector encompasses.