Ballarat’s booming arts and culture industry

Ballarat’s arts and culture sector is growing at a rapid rate, according to a report received at a City of Ballarat Council meeting this week.

The 2021/22 Creative City Strategy Report Card was tabled at the City of Ballarat November Council Meeting on Wednesday, outlining the substantial growth within the creative industry.

Among the key findings in the report were:

  • The arts and culture sector is the fastest growing sector of the Ballarat economy – from 1.6 per cent of total Ballarat jobs in 2016 to 2.4 per cent at the time of the report.

  • The total number of arts and culture jobs in Ballarat has grown from 1,194 in 2016 to 1,989 in 2021.

  • In terms of tourism, 35 per cent of visitors to Ballarat invested in cultural experiences including art, culture, heritage and indigenous activities. This equated to a sum of $92 million investment into the cultural economy.

The report card is the second annual report card completed on the application of Ballarat’s Creative City Strategy, which was adopted in 2019.

The strategy has set out to achieve a number of ambitious goals, including growing jobs in the arts sector and increasing foot traffic in the CBD.

Ballarat’s Creative City Strategy aligns with the current City of Ballarat Council Plan 2021-2025, Goal 5 – a strong and innovative economy and city.

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson said it was pleasing to see the city’s artistic industry thriving.

“Ballarat has such a rich history when it comes to arts, but to see it take another leap forward is momentous,” Cr Hudson said.

“We know it has been a very difficult few years for the industry throughout the pandemic, so to see it growing so quickly is a testament to the creative community and the hard work we have put in as a Council.”

One example of a flourishing creative artist in Ballarat is emerging aerial performer Suraya Lewis.

Aged 14, Suraya is a recipient of a City of Ballarat Creative Inspiration Grant, which has enabled her to train with former Cirque de Soleil performer Itzel Salvatierra.

In January 2023 Suraya will travel to the Gold Coast to compete in Australia’s biggest Circus competition, Bend the Air Finals.

The Damascus College student plans to complete a Bachelor’s degree in circus arts at NICA (National Institute of Circus Arts), with a long term aim to join Cirque de Soleil.

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