An annual review of the Cairns Strategy for Culture and the Arts 2022 tabled at Council today revealed strong opportunities for ongoing growth as the region recovers from the impacts of COVID-19.
The report, which focused on the strategy’s third year, revealed over 60% of proposed actions in the 2020/21 financial year were completed and high levels of engagement were achieved, despite significant disruptions due to the pandemic.
Active participation, audience numbers and employment opportunities were all lower in 2020/21 compared to 2019/290, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 which led to the closure of Council facilities and cancellation of suspension of shows and programs.
Most notably, data from the 2019/20 report incorporated Cairns Festival figures, including 87,000 attendees, which was cancelled in the 2020/21 financial year.
Highlights of 2020/21 included:
- Audience totals of 177,177 and a total active participation of 4,689
- A total of 644 short term employment opportunities generated largely by the refurbishment and programming of arts and cultural facilities and precincts
- Five long term employment opportunities created through additional casual positions to accommodate a new gallery space and through partnerships with arts and cultural organisations
- Official opening of The Court House art gallery and a further commitment of $10m from the Federal Government’s Regional Recovery Partnerships to continue development of the Cairns Gallery Precinct
- Initiation of the Summer Sounds series, a partnership with Tourism Events Queensland and Tropical Tourism North Queensland, which recorded over 6,600 attendees, including 25% from outside the region
- Adoption of an Arts and Disability Strategy, a Young Creatives Strategy and a Public Art and Creative Placemaking Strategy.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the report underlines Council’s commitment to culture and the arts through the continued delivery of world-class programming, infrastructure and resources to stimulate and support creative and cultural activity.