We define creative as relating to or involving the use of imaginative, artistic and/or original ideas to make something. This includes creativity in terms of cultural practices, such as traditional dance, music, song, ceremony, arts and crafts.
We see the creative sector consisting of individuals, artists (professional or amateur), organisations and businesses who work in any creative fields, including:
A Creative Strategy is a clear roadmap forward. Strategies look at where we’ve been, where we are now and where we could and should be.
Our draft Creative Strategy won’t exist without the foundations built as a result of our Art Plan. We believe a Creative Strategy will continue to recognise and value the contribution creative people and industries make to our city and build new connections between creatives, the sector, and other infrastructure.
Our vision is to be able to help transition Darwin forward creatively, for the benefit of all who live, study, work and visit here.
How does City of Darwin currently support creatives?
In the 2020/2021 financial year, City of Darwin invested over $1 million in the creative sector through sponsorships, grants, operating subsidies, operations and capital expenditure in public art. This investment does not include the employment of other artists, designers or graphic designers across the organisation or the significant investment in libraries or community centres. Arts and Cultural Development is staffed with one full-time equivalent role (currently 2 part time officers) supported by the Executive Manager of Community and Cultural Services.
Collaboration across City of Darwin and with stakeholders in our community is critical to achieving our goals.
Our support includes:
Regular Contractors - Utilising the services of local creatives such as graphic designers, audio makers, film makers or creative design studios. For example, in 2022 we worked with Moogie Down Productions to create an education campaign around Busking, which includes interviews, artist profiles, editing, design and branding images.
Space - Spaces are available for public hire and City of Darwin houses some local organisations under specific tenancy agreements. For example, Corrugated Iron Youth Arts, as the primary tenant in the Nightcliff Community Centre, are able to access purpose built spaces to support their delivery of a range of circus, theatre, and performing arts workshops and skills training to children and young people.
Operating Subsidies - We provide an operating subsidy to Darwin Entertainment Centre, enabling them to deliver performing arts programs, community hire options and event services. The Darwin City Brass Band also receive an operating subsidy, allowing them to bring live musical performances to all corners of the municipality.
Sponsorship - We have multiyear sponsorship agreements with local festivals such as the Darwin Festival and the Darwin Fringe Festival. We also sponsor the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) and Browns Mart Theatre to assist in their delivery of relevant, high quality arts and cultural programming for locals and visitors alike.
Grants - Our Community Grants program offers Darwin residents, artists, and community members funds to support creative, cultural, and locally focussed projects and activities. Recipient Gloria Richards upgraded old infrastructure with her visual arts project ‘Happy Place’, including painting a concrete bench with rich geometric design work. Nicole Brown will utilise her grant to support local First Nations events, such as Survival Day, National Reconciliation Week and Children’s Day, to further promote and bring together the wider community in the spirit of reconciliation.
Administrative Support - In some instances, we can offer in-kind administrative support with permits for outdoor venues, or advice to support local arts activities. Most recently, we have provided this support to Proper Creative’s Street Art Festival.
Public Art Major Commissions - 2021 saw the completion of the all access playground at the Jingili Watergardens, which involved collaborations with the Free Space Studio artists and Arts Access Darwin, whose artwork features on the shade sails and the nearby amenity wrap. This year Mirragma Gungurra-wa, will be installed in Bicentennial Park. City of Darwin have commissioned Garuwa Creative with Larrakia artists Uncle Roque Lee and Trent Lee on this work.
Exhibition Programs - City of Darwin’s Lightbox Exhibitions program engages curators to showcase local artists, encourages community dialogue around topical themes and activates our public spaces through alternating exhibitions. Ten purpose-built lightboxes host temporary exhibitions that change every six months. You can see the art any time of day or night, with back light illuminating the works after dark.
Beautification Works - Recently, we upgraded The Smith Street Mall with a work by Larrakia Artist Jason Lee. Gunamidirra, meaning saltwater, brings a pop of blue to the planter boxes, bins and benches throughout. The Nightcliff and Rapid Creek foreshore has amenity blocks wrapped in artworks by Free Space Studio Artists based on local ecologies such as mangrove systems and animal species.
Advisory Committee - The Arts and Cultural Development Advisory Committee (ACDAC) advise and make recommendations to Council regarding creative and public arts projects. Nominations for new members take place every two years (or one term) and community members with skills and expertise in local arts, cultural and creative sectors are encouraged to apply.