Hepburn Shire Council is deveoping its first Arts and Culture Strategy and is calling for community input.

The Shire is well known for its active creative and innovative arts community. Numerous art galleries and studios throughout the Shire are a testament to the many creatives who have made their homes here.

“Arts and culture play an essential role in enhancing social connectedness and community wellbeing in our Shire, and they contribute in many ways to our identity, liveability and ongoing sustainability,” said Mayor, Cr Tim Drylie.

“Arts and culture can mean different things to different people, but we know that supporting creative initiatives helps to grow and sustain local talent, gives emphasis to our diverse traditions and abilities, and connects us in inclusive and meaningful ways so that everyone has an opportunity to flourish,” he said.

Council is inviting the community to play a part in developing the four-year strategy by completing a short online survey. The strategy will define key priority areas where Council can focus on services, programs and facilities so that the creative community can thrive.

Steve Birnie, spokesperson for The Daylesford Arts Collective is pleased that Council plans to develop a strategy that will guide inclusive community arts practice within the Shire. “Members of the Collective will certainly support this Council initiative and we hope to be part of creating guidelines that will see a symbiotic relationship between the Shire and emerging creatives who have been otherwise invisible within their own community,” he said.

“Judging by the Visitor Book comments from our last PopUp event, there is a hunger within this community to see many more Arts events produced at a community level, organised and produce by the very people that have given this Shire, in the words of our Mayor, its social connectedness, liveability, diversity and diverse traditions. These have not come from outside its boundaries  but are lived values sustained by its citizens.”

Council will also host creative community conversations about arts and culture through a series of face-to-face and online focus groups across the Shire. In Daylesford,  a face to face session is planned on Thursday 19 May from 4pm to 5pm. Online focus groups will also be held on Wednesday 18 May and Thursday 19 May. Bookings are essential. See the Participate Hepburn website for times and locations.

For more information and to complete the survey visit the Participate Hepburn website. The survey closes on Friday, 3 June 2022.