Rebuilding our arts and cultural facilities

Janelle Saffin MP has backed in a host of arts and cultural projects which have secured disaster recovery funding for the sector to rebuild from last year's floods.

LISMORE’S flood-damaged arts and cultural facilities are set for a rebuild under disaster recovery funding, with many of the projects strongly backed in by Janelle Saffin MP over recent months.

“I’m extremely pleased that our arts sector has not been forgotten as we reimagine our city, towns and villages in a more flood-resilient future,” Ms Saffin says.

“These grants will go a long way towards rebuilding some of our beloved cultural institutions and ensuring that our arts spaces and artists’ collectives get the long term support that they so desperately need. I’m pleased Murwillumbah’s MIArts precinct is included as well.”

The Arts and Culture Priority Needs Grants Program, jointly funded by the Albanese and NSW governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, offers funding between $5,000 and $500,000 as part of the broader Community Local Infrastructure Recovery Package (CLIRP).

Successful local projects include:

  • Arts Northern Rivers Incorporated – Northern Rivers cultural infrastructure research project ($125,000). Future preparedness for the Creative Sector of the Northern Rivers through a research feasibility study over 24 months undertaken in partnership with Arts Northern Rivers and Patternmakers. This will deliver a sector & region wide feasibility report of Northern Rivers arts & culture, infrastructure capacity and identified areas for growth.
  • Creative Peoples Collective – The Creative Peoples Collective – Reopening Doors ($112,042). This project addresses flood damage to The Creative Peoples Collective Clubhouse in February 2022. As a valuable arts and cultural infrastructure asset in the Lismore LGA they need to repair the electricity and smoke alarm systems, replace fire extinguishers, and create flood mitigation strategies to ensure art is not damaged.
  • Elevator Projects – Elevator ARI Sustainability and Development Program ($496,600). The Elevator ARI Sustainability and Development Program will rebuild and develop the much-needed facilities that allow Elevator ARI to continue to provide vital cultural experiences and engagements for the Northern Rivers community.
  • Lismore City Council – Temporary Library Fitout in Lismore CBD ($135,821). This project will restore library services to Lismore’s CBD while the current library is refurbished due to impacts of flooding. It will deliver library user facilities, electrical work, IT assets, PC access and free WiFi, shelving, furniture, circulation system assets, security and other assets for the continuation of library programs.
  • Lismore City Council – Lismore Regional Museum Sub-floor Venting and Roof Restoration ($104,000). This project will deliver ventilation and roof works to ensure Lismore Regional Museum is protected from future damage and returned to a fully usable and accessible facility. Subfloor venting, cross-ventilation, roofing and guttering will be repaired to dissipate excess water and humidity, improving the structural longevity of this heritage-listed building.
  • Lismore City Council – Lismore Library Internal Fitout ($494,400). This project will restore Lismore’s permanent library facility to a useable standard. It will ultimately enable the return of the library’s full programs and user facilities through the re-fit of internal walls, fixtures and fittings using flood resilient and resistant materials, and electrical, data and security components above flood height.
  • Lismore City Council – Lismore Regional Gallery Internal Fitout ($499,004). This project will fit out the current gallery to return it to a useable standard where art works can be displayed and programs can be continued. A focus on flood resilience will be incorporated into this project, including flood-resilient materials and fixed features, and storage facilities above flood levels.
  • Lismore City Council – Feasibility Study for Future of Lismore’s art, culture and heritage ($109,865). This project will deliver a consultative report on the long-term futures of Lismore Regional Gallery and the Historical Society Museum. The study will investigate how best to maintain Lismore’s cultural heritage and viability of these two arts facilities’ programs, collections and exhibits in light of significant and recurrent flooding events.
  • Northern Rivers Conservatorium Arts Centre Inc – Recovery and upgrade to Northern Rivers Conservatorium Carparks & Grounds ($500,000). The restoration and upgrade of the Northern Rivers Conservatorium carparks impacted by the February 2022 floods will restore and bring the grounds in line with accessibility standards, improve the external aesthetic and recover much needed space suitable for community events and outdoor performances.
  • Northern Rivers Conservatorium Arts Centre Inc – Post-flood reclamation of the Conservatorium’s ground floor spaces ($500,000). The ground floor spaces of the Northern Rivers Conservatorium building are to be restored and refurbished following the devastating impact of the February 2022 floods. These works will provide newly transformed spaces for creative and community activities aiding the flood recovery of Lismore and the Northern Rivers community.
  • Northern Rivers Conservatorium Arts Centre Inc – Feasibility Study for the Northern Rivers Conservatorium ($123,050). The feasibility study for the Northern Rivers Conservatorium will take into consideration the current facility and whether it continues to be the most appropriate option for the delivery of services. Subsequently it will examine what infrastructure is required to best service the users of the service and the community.
  • Northern Rivers Conservatorium Arts Centre Inc – Northern Rivers Conservatorium Completion of First Floor Flood Reclamation Works ($187,454). The project will reinstate a first-floor kitchen and kitchenette and a basic ground floor kitchen. All three facilities are to be built using flood resistant materials to maximise disaster resilience into the future. These works will complete the work on the first and ground floors of the Conservatorium building.
  • Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA) Inc – Feasibility process to improve Lismore City Hall’s Flood resilience/usability ($320,920).This scope of work brings together a team of cultural infrastructure specialists who will support NORPA in its role as advisors to council in the rebuild of City Hall to be a flood-resilient cultural asset, improving user functionality and community value.
  • Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA) Inc – Replacement of infrastructure and equipment to build flood resilience ($490,208). This project will replace NORPA’s arts equipment and infrastructure lost in the 2022 floods to ensure: 1. Short-term – NORPA can continue to deliver its creative activity in temporary spaces; 2. Longer term, ensure City Hall has a contemporary standard of equipment that is flood resilient and adaptable.
  • Outpost Studio – Outpost Art Studio Flood preparedness and operational continuity project ($140,921). Flood preparedness, evacuation, resilience and feasibility plan, infrastructure purchases/works supporting Outpost Studio’s continued activities. With contingencies to mitigate potential damage of future flood events, the project will provide continued security for Outpost artists to maintain and expand their ongoing socially engaged projects, art practices, economic and operational continuity.
  • Realising Every Dream Limited – REDinc’s Visual, Creative and Performing Arts Centre of Lismore ($268,498). This project will establish a Visual, Creative and Performing Arts Centre in Lismore. Last year, REDinc. purchased a shop adjacent to its Art Studio. Both these buildings were decimated in the February floods. Using flood mitigation strategies, this project shall create a space for people with disabilities to resume creative activities.
  • Serpentine Community Gallery Inc – Flood Recovery Works for Serpentine Community Gallery ($59,588). Serpentine Gallery, located in Conway Street, Lismore, was severely affected by the Feb-March 2022 floods. The gallery requires further work in order to bring the space to an operable state.
  • M|Arts Precinct Regent Cinema, Murwillumbah – Flood mitigation stormwater redirection ($308,140). The redirection of an identified storm water issue that exacerbates flooding across the whole precinct, including the heritage-listed Regent Cinema.

Additional information on the program, including a full list of successful projects, can be found at create 

Applications for a second stage of grant funding – Arts and Culture Essential Community Asset Program (ECAP) is anticipated to open soon.

A FILE picture of Lismore MP Janelle Saffin speaking at a Serpentine Gallery exhibition opening in Lismore late last year.