ARTISTS in Ellenbrook and across the City of Swan have 700,000 reasons to smile, with Ellenbrook Arts’ future secure thanks to a funding boost from the City.
Following a council resolution in August to undertake a competitive Expression Of Interest process to seek an organisation to deliver an arts program in Ellenbrook and surrounding areas, the City has announced that Ellenbrook Cultural Foundation, trading as Ellenbrook Arts, are the recipients of a $700,000 grant spanning three years.
A not-for-profit organisation, Ellenbrook Arts provides leadership and advocacy in arts and culture for the Ellenbrook community.
They deliver community arts programs, events and services that span across visual, performing, literary and other arts disciplines.
The Ellenbrook Arts HQ is host to a professional gallery space, while its second premises, the Grapevine Community Art Space, provides meeting spaces for local groups including dancers, writers and quilters.
The funding announcement is great news not just for Ellenbrook Arts but also artists across the City of Swan according to executive director Gemma Ben-Ary.
“It’s going to enable us to keep operating for the next three years,” she said
“It’s a really exciting opportunity for growth, with what we do with our organisation.
“We’ve been operating here for 18 years and the partnership with the City means we can continue on into the future.
“Ellenbrook is the name but I think we represent more than just Ellenbrook, but the exciting thing about this grant is that it has recognised Ellenbrook is a really important hub and a cultural hub within the City.
“I guess our boundaries have extended a little and although our focus is still on Ellenbrook and the community here, hopefully we can integrate really well with a wider audience across the City.”
Mayor Kevin Bailey said that with Ellenbrook’s population booming, the importance of art and culture were well recognised.
“Ellenbrook is recognised by the State as one of the key art and culture centres in the City of Swan and in this region,” he said.
“We believe we need to support that.
“This has been a fantastic gallery now for a long period of time so the City felt that we need to support this centre to meet those objectives on art and culture at a state level.”
Although NAIDOC week has been pushed back to November, the gallery is currently hosting an exhibition entitled Kalyakool, featuring Aboriginal artists from DADAA studios who live across the City of Swan.
“Kalyakool is a Noongar word that means always, and it was in reference to this year’s NAIDOC theme which was “Always was, always will be”,” Ms Ben-Ary said.
“The curators come from an organisation named DADAA, they support artists with disabilities and work very strongly in the City of Swan.
“All the artists in this exhibition come from the City of Swan, they also have various different disabilities and they come from different age groups as well.
“We’ve got one artist, John Morrison, who has created his own game and the prototype is being launched during this exhibition.
“Young people in particular will respond to that and they’ll have a chance to look at what John’s world looks like through a gaming interface.
“Mandy White is working on a mural during the exhibition and that’s also very exciting for the gallery.”
Michael Miller and Des Woodley also feature strongly in the exhibition, which opens on Sunday and will run until August 9.