Social and Community


Social and Community
Phone: 02 9242 4000 (Press 2 for Advocacy)
[email protected]

Arts and Culture

Whether it’s through the arts, architecture, language, education or leisure, local government plays a role in enabling people to participate in artistic and cultural expression. Existing quantitative data vastly under-represents the actual commitment of councils in NSW to arts, culture and heritage.

In an era of increasing global homogeneity, local production and participation is especially important. Arts, culture and heritage also have serious economic value for communities.

Member councils deliver, fund, host, support and promote arts and culture in their communities. This includes managing more than 4,000 cultural sites throughout NSW, as well as delivering services, programs, events and local cultural planning.

Councils are involved in arts and culture in the following ways:

  • Hosting events
  • Installing public artwork and sculptures
  • Hiring out spaces and halls for artists
  • Running libraries and programs at the library
  • Owning and managing local museums and galleries
  • Attracting touring shows to town, including performing in council-owned Theatres
  • Being custodians of local heritage assets

NSW local government invested $520 million in arts, screen and culture in 2015-16 (The Economic Value of Arts, Screen and Culture in NSW, July 2018).

Current Initiatives

Creative Recovery Taskforce
LGNSW, through the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), is on a new taskforce to advise the Creative Recovery Network. Outputs from the taskforce will include:

  • Recommendations for embedding culture and the arts in local, state and federal disaster management systems throughout Australia
  • A collection of case studies and best practice models (national and international) that highlight the role of culture and the arts in disaster recovery.

Night Time Economies
LGNSW is a member of the NSW Night Time Economy Councils' Committee, which was established in late 2016. This Committee promotes arts and culture as an essential aspect of a vibrant night time economy. LEARN MORE

Leo Kelly OAM Arts and Culture Awards
The Leo Kelly OAM Arts and Culture Awards celebrate outstanding achievement by local government organisations in strategic planning for arts and culture. LEARN MORE

Local Government Museum Managers' Roundtable
Employment of professionals to manage council museum and heritage collections is an emerging trend in NSW. Since 2015, LGNSW has collaborated with Museums & Galleries NSW to facilitate roundtable gatherings of local government staff involved in managing museum and heritage collections. LEARN MORE

LGNSW Destination and Visitor Economy Conference
A chance for councils to share information and initiatives on managing local tourism. LEARN MORE

National Local Government Cultural Forum
The forum has developed five measurable outcomes of engagement in culture for councils across Australia to use. This forum ran from 2012 to 2018 and was a twice-yearly meeting attended by state and territory local government associations, including LGNSW. LEARN MORE

Communities and Culture – LGNSW Research into Arts, Culture and Heritage (July 2017) – Communities and Culture is a unique, qualitative study undertaken by LGNSW that identifies how councils deliver arts, culture and heritage services. In doing so, it highlights that existing quantitative data vastly under-represents the actual commitment of councils in NSW.

Past LGNSW initiatives  


LGNSW makes regular submissions to the state and federal governments, plus other agencies, to advocate on behalf of the interests of local government and their communities when it comes to arts and culture related issues.

LGNSW submissions page