Community Arts and Cultural Development Grants

Colourful art and cultural graphic of a mask

2023-24 Arts and Cultural Development Grant Program 

City of Coffs Harbour’s 2023-24 Arts and Cultural Development Grant Program opened on Tuesday 31 of January and closed on Monday 13 March.   

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 (see guidelines)
  • 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

Read or download the 2023 Community Arts and Cultural Development Grants Guidelines

Important dates for Arts and Cultural Development Grants 2023-24

  • 31 January - Applications open online
  • 8 February - Grant Information Workshop (Coffs Regional Gallery Workshop Space, Rigby House)
  • 15 February - Grant Information Workshop (Woolgoolga Library)
  • 13 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
  • gallery and museum newsletter
  • social pages.

Sign up for the newsletter and follow the social pages

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


2022/23 Arts and Cultural Grants Program – Successful Grant 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.