Bunbury is a thriving cultural centre with many facilities, organisations and activities for both residents and visitors.
The City is home to peak regional arts and cultural bodies, including:
- Bunbury Regional Art Galleries. This is the premier public art gallery in the South West of Western Australia. Boasting four separate formal exhibition spaces as well as community exhibition facilities, BRAG offers a diverse and stimulating programme of exhibitions from regional, state and national sources.
- Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre. Provides theatre, film and live performance plus state-of-the-art conference facilities overlooking the beautiful Leschenault Inlet.
- Stirling Street Arts Centre. Caters for the region’s craft needs.
The local community is committed to arts and cultural activities with community bands, theatre groups and artists. The private sector also contributes to a number of galleries, studios and a significant contemporary music scene.
The South West Regional College of TAFE and the South West Campus of Edith Cowan University provide courses and training in the arts. These are supported by comprehensive workshops conducted by community organisations.
Creative City Strategy
Bunbury is on its way to becoming a more culturally and creatively enhanced city after Bunbury City Council recently approved the Creative City Strategy.
The strategy is an aspirational framework for Bunbury’s arts and cultural development programs. It aims to strengthen the identity of the city as a vibrant arts destination, a confident and resilient community with a supportive environment for artists and creative businesses. The goals and targets in the strategy will guide council in activating public spaces, encouraging the generation of new ideas and initiatives, and developing arts and cultural facilities. This will enhance the future of the city as a vital and dynamic modern city which values its history and heritage.
Council strongly believes that the primary source of new arts and cultural initiatives should be artists, creative individuals, community groups, organisations and businesses. Council will actively foster the exchange of information, knowledge and contacts that will enable creative ideas to become reality.
Click here to download the Creative City Strategy.
City of Bunbury Art Collection
In the late 1940s, Sir Claude began making art bequests to country Shire Councils with the intention of giving country people access to art, to encourage local artists, and to promote the notion of establishing regional collections.
In 1948, Sir Claude made the first donation of what was to become a total of 22 works, to the then Town of Bunbury. In a letter to the MLA for Bunbury, Sir Claude wrote: 'I have a desire to do something for the country folk of our great State, in the way of presenting to one of our larger country towns a group of 20 original works from the brushes of famous and noted Australian artists. My idea is that of wanting to raise the standard of art appreciation.'
From 1948 until the late 1950s, the Society of Artists managed and acquired works for the Collection, until the Collections Committee was set up under the Local Government Act. Since then, the Society of Artists has been represented on the Committee.
True to the spirit in which Sir Claude Hotchin donated the works, the Bunbury Collection has continued to grow. It is now one of the most important regional Collections in Australia.
Members of the Collections Committee made wise decisions and with the continued support of the City of Bunbury Council, the Collection did not stagnate, or remain frozen in time.
The City purchased the old Convent of Mercy to permanently house and exhibit the Collection and to provide the community with the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries.
The Art Collections Committee receives an annual grant from the City of Bunbury to acquire, conserve and exhibit the Collection.
The WA Performing Arts Eisteddfod has been held annually in June for the last 57 years. People of all ages, genders and abilities come together to perform at the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre in many disciplines including Vocal, Instrumental, Dance and Speech & Drama.
On average 6,000 participants ‘tread the boards’ for their chance to receive written feedback from professional adjudicators and invaluable experience performing in a professional theatre.
The WAPAE committee encourages active community participation, with approx 25 volunteer positions required daily to run the event.
Financial assistance for arts and cultural groups is available on a state and federal level, plus many organisations in the corporate sector provide a range of support for community groups. Here are some of the most common sources for arts, cultural and community funding:
Healthway: Arts and cultural funds are available in two basic categories; requests under $5000 and requests over $5000. Although Healthway accepts applications throughout the year, they must be received a minimum of four months before the event.
Department of Culture and the Arts: The Department of Culture and the Arts' (DCA) commitment is focused on enriching the lives of all Western Australians by supporting the arts and cultural sectors to provide unique and transforming experiences.
Country Arts WA (CAN): Country Arts funds arts and cultural activities in regional Western Australia. A variety of funding categories are available, all of which have fixed due dates.
Community Arts Network: CAN funds a variety of community arts activities and events throughout Western Australia. The Network also provides excellent resources and opportunities for artists. Several funding categories are available, all with fixed due dates for applications.
Australia Council for the Arts: The Australia Council is the peak national arts funding body. A wide variety of categories are available and all have fixed due dates.
This list of funding bodies is only an indication of the sources available. For more information on the City’s community funding click here.