Lord Mayor Clover Moore today called on people who live, work and visit Sydney to share their ideas for improving the city's cultural life.
"Imagine borrowing (and playing) musical instruments at the library, evening childcare so parents could have a night out, or unsold theatre tickets going to high school students," the Lord Mayor said.
"These are just some of the ideas that have emerged so far as we ask Sydneysiders what kind of cultural life they want in the city."
"Can we inspire an even richer creative culture? How do we make sure creative people can afford to live and work here? What persuades people to get involved, go out to shows or invest in local work?"
The City of Sydney's first cultural policy is being developed to ensure its assets are put to best use, that enough of the right activities are offered, and to help local cultural and creative communities to flourish.
Council last night endorsed the Creative City Cultural Policy Discussion Paper and now wants Sydneysiders to play an active role by sharing their ideas at sydneyyoursay.com.au
The City already invests more than $34 million each year, including free public events, libraries, public art, grant programs and sponsoring the city's major arts festivals.
"As arts funding from other levels of government and private investors becomes increasingly uncertain, we need to work how best to support creativity and culture," the Lord Mayor said.
The Creative City Cultural Policy Discussion Paper includes eight key directions the City could take, including optimising markets for cultural products.
Ralph Myers, who has been artistic director for Surry Hills' landmark Belvoir theatre since 2011, and has worked across dance, circus, film and opera, is looking forward to sharing his ideas for the cultural policy.
"We're thrilled by the prospect of a Sydney cultural policy, both as a way of taking stock of the rich artistic life of this fine city, and as a stimulus and inspiration for the generation of even more great stuff," Mr Myers said.
"Hopefully it will define culture in the broadest possible terms, both to remove the arts from the elite and shrinking ghetto to which it is so often confined, and to make us all think as openly and playfully about how we can best enjoy life in this great town."
Creative industries are the fastest-growing sector in our city, contributing an estimated $8.2 billion to the City's economy in 2012 and expected to account for $14.9 billion of our gross domestic product by 2030.
The last Census in 2011 showed more than 32,000 people working in creative fields in inner city Sydney, an increase of 22.2 per cent since 2006.
A cultural policy would ensure these industries continue to grow by providing a clear framework for our goals and ways the City can achieve and measure them.
Performer Vashti Hughes, whose one-woman cabaret show Mum's In has been running at the Kings Cross Hotel since last year, said a cultural policy would provide strategic support to independent artists like herself.
"Mum's In applauds the City of Sydney's first cultural policy as a way to help support interesting and diverse work that is created by Sydney artists," Ms Hughes said.
"As the city grows, independent artists can fall through the cracks and become invisible so it's great to see the City get behind the arts and help provide structures so they can be seen and heard."
The consultation period for the Creative City Cultural Policy Discussion Paper ends on 31 May.
To have your say, visit: sydneyyoursay.com.a
For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Matt Levinson 0427 044 768 or firstname.lastname@example.org