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New funding for Indigenous programs

Media Statement
Tuesday 24 May 2011

NSW Minister for the Arts announces funding for Sydney Opera House Indigenous programs.

The NSW Minister for the Arts, the Hon George Souris MP, today announced $1 million of funding in support of Indigenous Arts. Included in the Minister’s announcement was $200,000 awarded to Sydney Opera House to assist in expanding its existing Indigenous arts and culture programs.

Sydney Opera House CEO, Richard Evans, said, ‘We have long celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture, embracing the rich heritage of our Bennelong Point site and paying tribute to the contribution the First Peoples have made to our nation’s cultural development.  This investment by the NSW Government will help us showcase more of the diversity that exists within Indigenous arts and culture. ”

On Thursday 12 May, Sydney Opera House opened its 12th annual Message Sticks festival. Message Sticks is a celebration of Indigenous arts and culture with a focus on film featuring stories created by people from Australia and around the world.

The funding announced today will assist Sydney Opera House in expanding and revitalising Message Sticks to include talks, debates and live performances in addition to film. Key to this goal will be the building of richer relationships by expanding community engagement in, and raising the profile of, our local Indigenous cultural landscape.  Sydney Opera House will also seek to build connections with other NSW cultural institutions, small, medium and major performing arts companies to raise the profile of our local Indigenous cultural landscape.

To further consolidate Indigenous programming, Sydney Opera House will also appoint an experienced Indigenous arts producer. With this appointment in place, Sydney Opera House will be able to develop a strategy for incorporating indigenous work into our programs more broadly.

Richard Evans added, “After 12 months of consultation with the wider Indigenous community, Sydney Opera House will launch its first Reconciliation Action Plan on May 30. This plan, signed off by Reconciliation Australia, will provide us with a roadmap for increasing Indigenous employment and participation in the performing arts into the future.”



Vanessa Duscio, Sydney Opera House, 02 9250 7678 /
Christopher Wynton, Sydney Opera House, 02 9250 7836 /


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