Funding boost for Newcastle arts festivals

New funding from the City of Newcastle will help two street art festivals help draw visitors into Newcastle’s city centre.

The large-scale murals of Big Picture Fest will return to Newcastle in 2022 as one of 16 projects awarded a share of almost $800,000 through the City Centre and Darby Street Special Business Rate funding program, while the inaugural Little Festival will bring miniature street art to hidden locations across the CBD as one of 59 projects sharing in more than $450,000 of Community Support and Infrastructure Grants.

“City of Newcastle is committed to supporting our city as it emerges from the social and financial impacts of this pandemic and will continue to direct much-needed funds into developing opportunities in the local economy,” Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“Supporting initiatives such as Big Picture Fest and Little Festival will not only provide a welcome influx of commissions for artists, it will also drive visitors into the city centre, increase expenditure at local businesses and help create more vibrant, activated spaces throughout the course of the events and beyond.”

Little Festival organiser Jacinta Fintan said the event would encourage visitors to experience Newcastle on a different scale.

“City of Newcastle’s financial support for Little Festival has been a crucial step in turning my little idea into a brave new festival.

“After 18 long months of the pandemic flatlining the arts industry, it is really heartening to see bold and enterprising art funding underpin Newcastle’s arts recovery process.”

Festival Director Katerina Skoumbas said Big Picture Fest is looking forward to bringing even more of Newcastle’s personality out onto the streets.

“It’s so important to reflect our local culture and to include the artists in this phase of change, a time when Newcastle’s urban landscape is shifting,” she said.

“There are so many blank walls throughout the city that we pass on our daily commutes and when you turn that blank wall into a canvas, you bring colour, joy and life to the whole community.”