Photo: Kalani Gacon working with local talent at Katoomba Skate Park on Hermitude's 'When You Feel Like This’ music video.

Five grants awarded in 2022 Blue Mountains City of the Arts Trust Grants Program

03 Jun 2022

The 2022 Blue Mountains City of the Arts Trust Grants Program has awarded $48 088 in grants to support the projects of five local artists and arts workers. 

The successful candidates are: 

  • Chris Caines – The Inn at Twenty Mile Hollow 
  • Margaret Davis – Look Out/ Look Out!
  • Kalani Gacon – Mountain of Youth (pictured)
  • Jo Truman – Traversing the Void 
  • Linda Swinfield – A mothers’ site 

“Council allocates up to $50,000 a year to the City of the Arts Trust to support and strengthen the arts and cultural fabric of the Blue Mountains, encouraging arts quality and innovation, and engaging local communities and visitors in cultural activities,” Blue Mountains City Council Chief Executive Officer, Dr Rosemary Dillon, said.

“Congratulations to the five applicants of this important program. We hope this grant will provide each with encouragement and significant support in continuing their work, as well as support for local arts generally and a stimulus for creativity within the City.”

Kalani Gacon is a 26-year-old filmmaker who is one of the recipients of a $10,000 grant for his project Mountain of Youth, an immersive storytelling, filmmaking and film production mentorship and development program for young people in the region. The program will culminate in a series of film screenings in local cinemas and beyond.

Kalani said: “This grant gives us an opportunity to provide young people an experience to transform their stories into something that can be shared with the world, being supported and connected to each other and the wider community along the way. Working as a filmmaker professionally around the world the past years I have thought carefully about what stories I truly want to be telling, and now I have the chance to collaborate with the unique voices of Blue Mountains Youth and tell a story that is personal and captures some truth about this experience of life we know up here.”

For Margaret Davis, the City of the Arts funding will support the next stage of new theatre work, Look Out/Look Out!, which incorporates interwoven stories, video recordings and live artworks. Margaret said: ‘We’re delighted to receive support for the next stage of Look Out/Look Out!, being developed on the lands of the Dharug and Gundungurra peoples. This grant will allow us a rehearsal period and a presentation to a “test audience” in November before moving on to final rehearsals and production in early 2023 at Woodford Academy and other venues.”

As Trustee of the Blue Mountains City of the Arts Trust, Council endorsed the five recommendations of the Trust’s Advisory Committee, in line with the selection criteria.

The projects were assessed by the Advisory Committee, chaired by Councillor Mick Fell and comprising of 12 community members possessing a wide range of art form and grant administration expertise. Proposals are assessed on their merit against the assessment criteria of quality and/or innovation, capacity and community engagement. 

Paul Brinkman, Manager Arts & Cultural Services said: “The Grants Program increases opportunities for the engagement of local artists and art workers, as well as providing a stimulus for creativity within the City. Once again there was a very high standard of applications to the City of the Arts Trust Grant program and I congratulate those who were successful in having their projects funded.” 

The City of the Arts Trust Advisory Committee also recently endorsed $2000 seed funding to go towards the regions first performing arts residency, Propel Projects. The residency program targets emerging performing artists residing and developing their practise in the Blue Mountains. Coordinated by the Blue Mountains City Council’s Cultural Development department in partnership with the Blue Mountains Theatre, and with support from MTNS MADE, Propel Projects - Emerging Performers Residency (PROPEL) is an initiative created to help support and restimulate performing arts in the region. PROPEL applications close on Sunday, July 17.

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