Community Arts and Cultural Development Grants

Colourful art and cultural graphic of a mask

Arts and Cultural Development Grant Program 

City of Coffs Harbour’s Arts and Cultural Development Grant Program 2024 opens on Monday 5 February 2024 at 9am

Application Form 2024

Applications close at 4pm on Friday 15 March 2024. 

The 2024 round is for projects delivered from July 2024 to June 2025 

Need help with your application?

A free workshop to assist potential applicants is offered on Tuesday 20 February at Yarrila Place. Bookings recommended.

Register for the workshop here

Grants for the 2023 round have been administered with projects underway (between July 2023 and June 2024). The acquittal form for the 2023 grants can be found on this page.

Why does City of Coffs Harbour provide an Arts and Cultural Development Grants Program?

The Arts and Cultural Development Grants Program is a key action outlined in the Creative Coffs - Cultural Strategic Plan.

The program supports the enjoyment of a rich cultural life within the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area. It provides access and encourages the participation of all people regardless of age, cultural background, education or social status.

The grants are an annual source of funds that artists and community groups can access.

Projects requesting funding should have strong arts, cultural and community benefits. These must be clearly identifiable and, where possible, quantifiable with some measures of success.

Applications for financial support from between $1,000 and $7,000 are available.

How are applications assessed?

Applications are assessed by a panel. They are rated on:

  • eligibility
  • merit of the project (including its response to social, economic and environmental factors)
  • ability of the applicant organisation to manage the project
  • selection criteria (view grant guidelines(PDF, 810KB))
  • available funds.

Council’s assessment conditions of confidentiality, conflict of interest and impartiality are strictly adhered to.

The panel’s recommendations are presented to Council approval and administration.

The Assessment Panel is appointed and is comprised of at least:

  • One staff member with expertise in grants or arts/culture related field
  • The Councillor representative on the City’s Cultural Advisory Committee
  • One representative of Arts Mid North Coast
  • One representative of Prosper Coffs Harbour 

Important dates for Arts and Cultural Development Grants program 2024-25

  • 5 February - Applications open online
  • 20 February - Grant Information Workshop (Learning Lab, Level 2, Harry Bailey Memorial Library, Coffs Harbour)
  • 15 March - Entries close
  • June - Applicants advised of outcomes by email 

Do you have a question?

More information about the grants are available and shared via:

  • this page
  • Yarrila Arts and Museum (YAM)
  • Social Media

Contact the Cultural Development team
Phone: (02) 6648 4907

2023 Arts and Cultural Development Grant Recipients

Applicant: Emerald Beach Fair Inc

Project Title: Short Documentary Film on Emerald Beach

Funds endorsed: $7,000

The film reflects on the ideas around caring for Country as a shared responsibility of all who live and visit Emerald Beach, that the best of Aboriginal connection and the best of the community as a whole can work together for a better future. The Emerald Beach Fair Committee in partnership with Elders and Community will produce a short film, capturing our heritage and preserving this through a story, with a premier screening at the Fair using a family friendly moonlight cinema.


Auspice/Applicant: Sawtell Art Group Auspicee: Bay School of Creative Arts

Project Title: Connecting creatives and community through mentorship, creative practice, and enhanced resilience

Funds endorsed: $7,000

This project connects creative individuals and the wider community through a structured pathway of mentorship, creative practice development, and increased resilience. Over 14 weekly sessions the project will provide an intergenerational forum and space for group interaction and feedback which is essential to progressing art skills, and building self- confidence and creativity across all aspects of art creation and feeding back out into the community.


Applicant: Sawtell Catholic Care/ The Link

Project Title: Music for The Ages - an intergenerational music project

Funds endorsed: $4,400

Music for the Ages is an intergenerational music project collaboration between the most senior (residential aged care residents) and junior (primary school) members of our community. Building on the recent 2022 ‘Young at Art’ project (funded by the Country Art Support Program), the project will run over 6 weeks from 23 October, with intergenerational, weekly ukulele sessions (Seniors and students from grades 3-6). The project will culminate in a public concert and multimedia exhibition held at the Link.


Auspice/Applicant: Coffs Harbour Arts Council Auspicee: ‘Walking Together’ artists

Project Title: 'Walking Together' Exhibition        

Funds endorsed: $7,000

‘Walking Together – Voice, Treaty, Truth’ is a group exhibition of paintings, sculptures and mixed media works. Responding to the invitation from Australian First Peoples in the Uluru Statement ‘The Heart’ to walk together for a better future, this exhibition and its accessible school and community programs work across the three elements of Voice, Treaty and Truth.


Auspice/Applicant: Auspicious Arts Auspicee: Fyreside Arts

Project Title: Creative Industries Partnership

Funds endorsed: $7,000

This 8-month project is delivered through a partnership between two creative industry businesses on the Mid North Coast NSW, Fyreside Arts and Archive. Fyreside Arts will focus on sculpture making, facilitating a small metal sea star project by 20 local artists in various stages of their careers. Archive will focus on hosting an art event consisting of a curated group exhibition of small sculptures made at Fyreside Arts, with local musicians, food and beverages for the arts community.


Applicant: Coffs City Choir Incorporated

Project Title: Foster the enjoyment, pleasure and happiness that music and singing brings to our community

Funds endorsed: $1,500

The Coffs City Choir has been in continuous operation since 1991 and consists of 25 to 30 or more members, male and female, aged from 40s to 80s. Our aim is to foster enjoyment of singing by the choir members and members of our community. After several years of Covid close-downs, Coffs City Choir will focus on the selection and performances that include songs that are upbeat and fun or beautiful and melodic.


Applicant: NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors

Project Title: Women's Connection to Culture through Music

Funds endorsed: $6850

‘Women's Connection to Culture through Music’ will provide facilitated singing and music workshops for women from refugee backgrounds. The program will provide 7 x singing workshops for young women and 6 x music workshops for women of all ages that contribute to mental wellbeing, access to cultural arts and activities that promote social interaction. Workshops will be facilitated by the local social enterprise Grow the Music who specialise in trauma informed service delivery.



2022 Arts and Cultural Developement Grants Recipients

Seven local groups are to share $40,753 in arts and cultural grants from Council that will bring new and exciting opportunities to celebrate the cultural diversity of the Coffs Coast community.

Read the full article

Details of successful projects

Dawaaalam: a theatrical response to the Coutts Crossing Massacre of 1847

Auspice/Applicant: Coffs Harbour High School P & C Association Auspicee: Garlambirla Youth Theatre

Dawaaalam is an inter-cultural musical theatre piece exploring the events which took place at Kangaroo Creek (Dawaaalam) on Gumbaynggirr Country on November 29, 1847. Allegedly the settler Thomas Coutts murdered twenty-three Gumbaynggirr men with poisoned flour, yet was acquitted at trial. The Commissioner of Crown Lands, Thomas Fry, in 1848 described this event as ‘one of the most hideous enormities that has ever taken place, in any age or Country’.

The production team, all of whom have theatre experience and are demonstrably able to successfully deliver the project, includes:

  • Madge Hair, scriptwriter and director, former Drama teacher at Coffs Harbour High School.
  • Manduway Dutton, Gumbaynggirr composer and musician.
  • Uncle Micklo Jarrett, Gumbaynggirr language consultant and performer.
  • Brad Smith, formerly of Bangarra Dance Theatre, Gumbaynggirr choreographer and dancer.
  • Ilka Shroeder, yoga teacher with experience working with actors in Europe, movement adviser.
  • Finn Appleton, NIDA graduate now working for Sydney Opera House, lighting, sound and technology.
  • Jan Chivas, former CAPA Head Teacher at Coffs Harbour High School, props and costumes.


Coffs Coast Jazz Festival 2022

Applicant: Coffs Harbour Regional Conservatorium

The inaugural Coffs Coast Jazz Festival will be an immersive three-day celebration of jazz, music education, community and collaboration. Presented by the Coffs Harbour Regional Conservatorium, the exciting new festival will include three live concerts and two educational workshops that will celebrate and promote jazz music and culture on the Coffs Coast.

The festival is hosted by Coffs Harbour Regional Conservatorium, a not-for-profit charity organisation whose vision is to enrich the cultural life of Coffs Harbour through musical performances and education. The festival strongly aligns with this vision, through acclaimed jazz musicians providing engaging educational workshops followed by inspirational live performances that targets both local residents and visitors.

While Coffs Harbour has one-off jazz concerts on an infrequent basis, this unique offering of collating three live performances over a single weekend and combining these with two interactive workshops, will significantly grow the jazz culture and profile of the Coffs Coast. The success of these larger festivals is evidenced by the popular Coffs Harbour Festival of Chamber Music recently hosted by the Conservatorium in April 2022. The Coffs Coast Jazz Festival envisages a similar, yet more interactive format that will promote and encourage jazz culture and development in the area.

The concept of the Coffs Coast Jazz Festival holds much potential to become an annual event on the local calendar with strong initial community support from local jazz artists, students and the broader Associations of NSW Regional Conservatoriums.


Children's Art Matters - Our Stories

Applicant: Gamumbi Early Childhood Education Centre Incorporated

“Creativity should not be considered a separate mental faculty but a characteristic of our way of thinking.” ~ Loris Malaguzzi.

The creative arts provide a wonderful medium to promote self-expression, risk-taking, experimentation, collaboration, critical thinking, exploration of new ideas and learning through play. Our ongoing goal at Gamumbi is to support children’s confidence in developing their own individual artistic style (as opposed to focusing on a tangible outcome or finished product) and facilitating their passion and appreciation for art. Integral to this is increasing educators’ knowledge around the importance of the creative arts in early childhood and supporting their capacity to offer meaningful creative experiences here at Gamumbi.

In order to achieve this, we will invite Jess Miller from The Art Dept. into our classroom at Gamumbi to work with small groups of 10 children for an hour each week for 10 weeks. During these classes Jess will explore a variety of creative mediums and artistic techniques and processes with the children. Indigenous perspectives will be honoured and respected in a culturally appropriate manner by supporting the children to develop their own visual language to share their stories and narratives (as opposed to culturally appropriating or copying Aboriginal signs, symbols or artworks).

At the completion of our classes with Jess, the children’s artworks will be exhibited at both Gamumbi and a community venue (such as the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery/Yarrila Arts and Museum or Toormina Library) and include an opening day/night. This will highlight to children, families, educators and the broader community that art does, in fact, matter!

Coffs Ukulele Youth Group

Auspice/Applicant: GenHealth Inc. (trading as headspace Coffs Harbour)

Auspicee: Uko Ono

This project builds on the 2021 Ukulele Art Attack project (funded through the Coffs Harbour City Council Arts and Cultural Development Grants program) and Ukulele Youth Online project (in association with CHCC). Approximately 50 young people have engaged in these projects with 20 attending the one-day ‘Ukulele Art Attack’ workshop and 30 completing Uko Ono’s Creative Kids Absolute Beginners online course. We want to give these young people and others in the community the opportunity to enjoy all the benefits of joining a face-to-face ukulele group.

The project will run over 8-weeks during Term 4 with weekly ukulele sessions held at the Coffs Harbour CWA Hall on a Friday afternoon (3.30-5.00pm). Peer Support Workers from headspace will join the Uko Ono team in supporting students through the process with the aim to develop a repertoire of age-appropriate songs that can be performed in public over the end of year school holidays. An additional 10 ukuleles will be purchased for participants who don't already own an instrument.

The project will provide a much needed safe and engaging space for young people to express themselves creatively. The importance of creativity and social connection are directly linked to a young person’s overall wellbeing and healthy headspace.


Mentorship program for emerging and early career artists

Applicant: Sawtell Art Group Auspice: Bay School of Creative Arts

The project is to equip a group of emerging and early career artists with the skills needed to venture into the community to then build and ensure the ongoing vitality and longevity of the arts in our region. The project will provide a unique opportunity for artists who would never otherwise receive it. These are the people who need it the most and can afford it the least as they live and work in a region where training, employment and other opportunities are limited or difficult to access. This new generation of artists are the key to future cultural sustainability. They will also bridge gaps between generations, cultures and other community groups.

Our project is to plan, develop and implement a mentorship program in the Coffs Harbour region aiming at enhancing personal and professional growth, opening up opportunities for emerging and early career artists, making them aware of those opportunities and instilling a belief in what they are doing. Further, the program will be designed so that participants will gain confidence in abilities, be publicly recognised, be exposed to networking opportunities and be provided with a solid and savvy knowledge of the business associated with the arts sector.

The program will provide recipients with a plan to use as a blueprint in their ongoing successful working professional practice.

The program will be implemented by fully qualified and experienced mentors and teachers from the Bay School Of Creative Arts with extensive experience (10+ years) in this field providing access to established artists and art workers who have ‘been there before’.


Artists in the Garden (Phase 2)

Applicant: The Friends of the North Coast Regional Botanic Gardens Inc.

This project is founded on the ‘Artists in the Garden’ arts industry initiative, which provides opportunity for artists, arts industry providers, and educators to meet, discuss possibilities, form collaborative networks, and identify areas for growth in professional practice and cultural development.

The program of events for Phase 2 will bring art to the people, give people direct access to artists, allow free expression of art, performance and ideas, and allow artistic dialogue, synergy and connection. These events will include artistic showcases and engagement through collaborative works, workshops, sculptural and photographic exhibitions and prizes, multimedia art trail, exhibitions of collaborative and open works. Events will be scheduled in the Coffs Harbour Botanic Gardens on the first Sunday of every month, from 12 to 4 pm and will be free and accessible to community and visitors to our region.


Woolgoolga Regional Community Gardens Entrance Mosaic

Applicant: Woolgoolga Regional Community Gardens Inc.

This is a community art project where locals and members of the Woolgoolga Regional Community Gardens work with professional artist Pamela Denise to create a stunning mosaic roundella 2 metres in diameter for the new pavement at the Garden’s Entrance. Pamela will be setting up a Mosaic Studio in the Garden’s covered Meeting Place, open to the public, to run in the usual Garden hours for 10 days. It’s about learning a mosaic technique and materials suitable for an external path and working together on a creative arts project to enhance a shared community space.