Regional Arts Victoria inspires art across the state. Through creative facilitation, touring, education, specialised resources, artistic projects and advocacy, we develop and sustain creative communities and artistic practice all over Victoria.
Regional Arts Victoria is an independent, not-for-profit, membership-based organisation working in long-term partnerships with every level of government, fostering contemporary and innovative regional cultural practice across five decades. We advise and impact on decision-making across multiple portfolios and levels of government.
Regional Arts Victoria is the peak body for regional artists and arts organisations, and the leading organisation for regional creative practice in Victoria.
From 2017, Regional Arts Victoria’s key strategic focus shifts from place to practice, developing the artistic practices and creative organisations that inspire art across the state through:
Regional Arts Victoria facilitates the partnerships, the organisations and the practices that create new work.
Regional Arts Victoria nurtures the experts who foster local artistic experiences and stimulate young minds.
Regional Arts Victoria presents major artistic projects that build local artistic leadership and legacy.
Regional Arts Victoria will empower artists, venues and communities in our regions to see their creative practice as a driver of their local community, their creative work as a driver of their local culture, and themselves as drivers of creative places.
Founded in 1969, the Victorian Arts Council began its life as an umbrella body of regional arts councils, serving as the Victorian branch of the Arts Council of Australia (now Regional Arts Australia). Initially, the Victorian Arts Council supported performing arts touring, as well as offering resources and support for its affiliated regional arts councils. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the organisation developed in complexity in response to regional arts needs, and its formal incorporation in 1981 streamlined its business practices.
A comprehensive independent review in the late 1990s undertook valuable work in reflecting on the artistic legacy of the Victorian Arts Council’s first three decades. Its key recommendations centred around the need to create a unique suite of Victorian arts programs, rather than serving as the Victorian branch of the national body. In response, the organisation’s artistic programming in the 2000s developed sophisticated new focuses in education, cultural partnerships, major projects, and of course touring, in what was fast becoming an increasingly intricate national touring landscape. Government partnerships were strengthened, resulting in devolved grant relationships with all levels of government, as well as partner-funded Regional Arts Development Officer positions.
Today’s organisation is a company limited by guarantee, rebranded as Regional Arts Victoria in 1999. The organisation broadened its vision and its scope to encompass artists and arts organisations across Victoria, connecting artists and communities. In 2012 Regional Arts Victoria undertook our most recent planning process, identifying three strategic provocations for the next stages of our development:
- Reframing Regional Arts Victoria as a robust, sustainable arts organisation with a clear and coherent artistic program;
- Defined not by artform, venue, or artist career stage, but by the geographic places of Victoria, fostering and connecting the places where art is made, shared, experienced and discussed;
- Infusing a passionate advocacy for the arts across everything we do.
Each of these provocations informs the current Strategic Plan 2014-2018. Regional Arts Victoria’s current scope encompasses all artforms, all creative practices, and all modes of artistic experience. Vibrant, comprehensive programs such as Education & Families, Cultural Partnerships and Performing Arts Touring create valuable learning, development and presentation opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people each year. As well as an annual Creative Leadership Program, a significant, long-term, state-wide artistic project focuses our creative facilitation and our advocacy every few years, leaving a lasting legacy, including Such Fertile Ground, Illuminated by Fire, and now Small Town Transformations.
Across artistic and creative development work spanning five decades, Regional Arts Victoria inspires art across the state.
Regional Arts Victoria‘s leadership
| 1969 – 1976 David Hamer
1977 – 1983 John Riordan
1984 – 1988 Gwendolyn Stainton
1989 – 1990 Bill Cook
1991 – 1996 Brian W Hewitt
1997 – 2002 David Madden
2003 – 2008 Mike Zafiropoulos AM, JP
2009 – 2013 Dennis Goldner
2013 – 2018 Bruce Esplin AM
2018 – present Kath M Mainland CBE
| 1969 – 1971 Neil Case
1971 – 1972 Patricia Marshall
1973 – 1974 Peter Batey
1975 – 1998 Don MacKay
1998 – 2004 Peter Matthews
2004 – 2012 Lindy Allen
2012 – 2017 Esther Anatolitis
2017 – present Joe Toohey