City gets creative with first-ever cultural policy

City gets creative with first-ever cultural policy

The City of Sydney is calling on businesses, retailers and property developers to make more than 1.6 million square metres of empty commercial space across the city available to artists for creative activities.

The City is also considering a trial of early-evening children’s activity programs in community facilities so parents can take part in cultural activities, offering extended parking for audiences near cultural venues, making low-cost theatre tickets available to high school students, and creating opportunities for artists to decorate neighbourhood walls, construction hoardings and other public infrastructure.

These are just some of the 120 ideas included in the City’s first-ever cultural policy, which presents a 10-year action plan for unlocking Sydney’s creative potential and boosting the cultural life of its residents, workers and visitors.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the policy was the result of a major consultation program last year that saw thousands of Sydneysiders contribute ideas on what kind of cultural life they wanted for Sydney.

“From emerging artists and local residents to major cultural institutions and business leaders, Sydneysiders have told us that culture and creativity are essential to our city’s identity,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The City is proud to spend more than $34 million each year to support the arts, culture and creative activity in Sydney – but we know it is equally important to create an environment where ideas and imagination can flourish.

“Our new cultural policy draws on international best practice, the expertise of our most creative minds and the fantastic ideas of the local community to present an exciting plan that will help Sydney cement its position as one of the world’s great creative cities.”

Other highlights of the action plan include:

  • Expanding the City’s Art & About program to activate Sydney’s streets, parks and public spaces with temporary artworks and installations year-round;
  • Extending the Lawn Library program, which debuted in Hyde Park during Sydney Festival, to other parks and squares throughout the year;
  • Investigating a co-operative housing project for artists and creative practitioners;
  • Working with commercial developers to incorporate creative work spaces, including sound-proofed musical practice rooms, in new developments across the city;
  • Asking the NSW Government and community housing providers to classify artists and creatives as ‘key workers’, giving them access to affordable rental housing in the inner city;
  • Supporting the development of an interest-free loan scheme to encourage the purchase of artworks from local galleries and studios;
  • Investigating the introduction of a ‘cultural concierge’ to help Sydneysiders and visitors navigate the best exhibitions, events and creative experiences Sydney has to offer;
  • Investigating the introduction of free Wi-Fi in parks, squares and public spaces across the city;
  • Developing interactive workshops and an online how-to guide for ‘house histories’, to encourage local history research by community members;
  • Expanding the City’s suite of curated walking tours of key cultural sites, including lesser-known or ‘underground’ attractions;
  • Developing an international creative fellowship program in one of the City’s live/work spaces; and
  • Investigating the development of a ‘thinker-in-residence’ model for Sydney.

The proposals complement measures already underway as part of the City’s Live Music and Performance Action Plan, which was adopted by Council earlier this year in a bid to breathe new life into Sydney’s live music scene.

Following Council approval last night, the draft Cultural Policy and Action Plan will now go on public exhibition, giving the community another chance to have its say before the policy is finalised later in the year.

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For more information, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Keeley Irvin.
Phone 0448 005 718 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Shehana Teixeira.
Phone 0418 238 373 or email