Be Kind-Be Creative: Ballarat Reveals its Cultural Response to COVID-19

Ballarat's Cultural Response to COVID-19

As social lockdowns continue, the City of Ballarat is dedicated to providing the community with creative ways to continue to engage with each other, to economically support creative micro-businesses and sole traders, and to maintain flows of compassion.

Over the coming weeks, the City of Ballarat will release a program of activity as diverse as creating community-led podcasts and providing opportunities to join a group sing-a-thon.

The program, Be Kind – Be Creative, will provide the community an opportunity to respond creatively to new and changing circumstances.

The program includes:

Stories of our cultural city: This video series will give people a look into the creative institutions that make up our city. The compilation of short, three-minute celebrations of our cultural institutions includes a tour of the recently-installed exhibition by David Noonan at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

Open Studios [Remote] Tours:  Participants in the Open Studios program are filming themselves at work in their studio, on their kitchen table or wherever they work. Each artist will be explaining their work and what they do in these remote tours.

Virtual Soul Choir: Harnessing the existing energy of Bar Choir in our city, the City of Ballarat is investing in a community interaction that will bring people together to sing remotely.  

A week in the Life of Ballarat podcast series: This weekly production of podcasts will capture the life of Ballarat in lockdown. Members of the community will be asked to supply sound files of their own personal experience which will be produced into a comprehensive 10-minute sound file to be released weekly over eight weeks.

Artist commissions: Working with the Art Gallery of Ballarat, the City of Ballarat will commission five artists to document the current world events and Ballarat’s place within it.
These commissions will be produced with the idea of creating a physical exhibition for the gallery when it reopens. The selection of artists is now underway across wide genres, from music to poetry, ceramics and visual art.  

Workshops and skill share: The City of Ballarat is working with artists and creatives, and a selection of small businesses, to produce short videos to share skills and knowledge – from weaving through to drawing classes.

Regular YouTube programming: A community-focused TV program will be released every second day over 12 episodes. This is designed to connect community groups and school-aged children, and offers a chance for shout outs and daily challenges.

The COVID-19 situation is far from over, and your ability to stay home and stay safe is paramount. To support people to stay well at home the City of Ballarat has developed the Be Kind – Be Creative program which allows the community to directly participate.

The City of Ballarat is investing in commissioning local artists to respond to and document this unfolding situation.

The city’s cultural response provides an opportunity for everyone to be able to add their creative voice to something greater, and to demonstrate our compassion and our care for others. It’s also designed to invest directly in local artists, makers, creatives and related businesses to keep the economic flows moving.

The first outreach of Be Kind – Be Creative has already started, with artists, creatives and makers who were part of the Open Studio program now taking part in Open Studios Remote.

The City of Ballarat is providing short, medium and long-term opportunities for people to add their voices creatively. This forward thinking will set Ballarat up for the best possible cultural and economic response and give the city a much-needed economic resilience when the situation has passed.

In addition to this, the City of Ballarat is also heavily focusing on targeting the subsidies and economic funding programs offered by state and federal governments, as well as closely examining its own opportunities to streamline services and cut red tape.

The creative, artist, maker and those in the creative industry are generally micro-businesses or sole traders, this makes the sector particularly vulnerable and therefore a focus of our attention. Any stimulus the City of Ballarat can offer in terms of supporting and engaging the skills of small artists and creatives, it will do.

The Be Kind – Be Creative program embeds the Compassionate City and Creative City programs into the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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