Its dusk on a Thursday evening and a group of people have been drawn to the community hall at the Randwick Environment Park. Outside, three art students from UNSW man a desk that contains a stack of art programs, hand sanitiser and a sign-in sheet. Inside, artworks that explore the emotional impacts of the pandemic are lit by spotlights. One by one the group poke their heads in and, eventually, step inside to take in all 16 multidisciplinary works of art that form the Breakout Collective’s exhibition.
The group of 22 emerging artists was one of the first to receive funding via Council’s new grants and donations framework, now known as the Community Investment Program. The Program has three core funding streams called Community Creative and Community Connect. They aim to showcase creative arts in Randwick City, encourage community connection and assist community-based services.
“People are really aware of what they can and can’t do at the moment,” says April Mountfort, whose photographic work explores feeling adrift during the pandemic. “We wanted the chance to reawaken their sense of curiosity and engage with them, which we have been able to do with this exhibition.
“With the slight relaxation in Public Health restrictions, it was a good opportunity for us to reach out and engage with the community to say artists will re-emerge, we will be there again.”
Likewise, a few suburbs over in Maroubra, a group of coffee connoisseurs have devised a plan to convert their coffee warehouse into a centre where people can meet, talk and connect with one another during regular “open hour meet ups”. The coffee grounds used during these meet ups, as well as collected from cafes who use their brand of coffee, will be collected and delivered to local community gardens and composting hubs to enrich their compost. In doing so they will divert hundreds of kilograms of coffee grounds from landfill.
“Post-COVID 19 people have a new agenda,” says KUA co-founder Darcy Small who was awarded funding via the Community Connect stream. “We want local connections, local consumption and local learning and our Community Coffee, Community Compost project champions all three of these.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for our entire community, it has also presented us with the opportunity to find different and better ways to do things and highlighted how important it is to stay connected with our community. Council’s Community Investment Program gives individuals and groups the opportunity to make these some of these ideas a reality.
Funding rounds for Community Connect and Community Creative will be open again. Head to here for more information.Back to top