Arts Improves Lives - WA community speak from experience

Personal stories about how the arts and culture have touched the lives of people in diverse communities across WA is the focus of a new publication 'Articulate' release by the Chamber of Arts and Culture WA.

Arts Improves Lives - WA community speak from experience

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The project features an anthology of more than 30 Western Australians' stories providing insight into why, and how, people value the contribution of arts and culture.

Helen Cook, Chair of Chamber of Arts and Culture WA said " The stories contained in this compendium capture the diverse impact of the cultural experiences on a range of individuals. We hope that you will recognise yourself, your family and friends as sharing similar experiences.

"The arts and culture sector in Western Australia employs over 42,000 people and generates more than $10.6 billion for the State Economy."

Featured community initiatives include; West Australian Symphony Orchestra's Crescendo program, West Australian Ballet'sJumpStart Dress Rehearsal program and Black Swan State Theatre Company's regional ambassador's.

Derek Weston is their regional ambassador for Denham, in Shark Bay. "I’ve lived in Denham for probably 11 years now. The first time Black Swan State Theatre Company came here was in 2015 when they performed a live show calledShadow Boxing. There was a remarkable response from the community. The cast even visited the school one afternoon to speak with students. I thought it was amazing.

"Then last year, they tried something new. We were given the opportunity to screen a live broadcast of the show, Switzerland. It was on at the State Theatre Centre in Perth, and was transmitted live to us.

"It’s a new concept for people here, to watch something on the screen as it’s being performed in Perth. Whilst it doesn’t have the same effect as a live theatre, it does get people out and it does get people into the art world again. They are able to see some theatre that they would not usually have the chance to see.

"It’s quite amazing to think our community can see a live show going on in Perth in our hall 850 kilometres north of Perth!"

These broadcasts would not be possible without regional ambassadors. In total Black Swan State Theatre Company's live broadcast performance ofSwitzerlandreached at least 1,057 audience members in 20 major venues and 33 Community Resource Centres.

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Peter Elsegood, Principal at North Parmelia Primary School, has overseen the introduction of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra's (WASO)Crescendo, a new music education program inspired by the internationally renowned El Sistema program, which was founded in Venezuela in the 1970s.

"Unless you’re given an opportunity, you never know what your potential is. Who knows where our students will go in the future, but they may not have been looking at the same opportunities withoutCrescendo," said Peter Elsegood,

"Crescendo is opening a whole new spectrum of experiences and opportunities for the children. Students’ results have improved, as has the tone of the school. I’m not saying that this is solely because of Crescendo, but it is certainly one of the cogs making the school a more effective place to be.

The children are experiencing success, which is what it’s all about. Crescendo is awesome!"

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Over 6,000 people participate in West Australian Ballet's Community Programs annually, from school children, teachers, fellow artists, volunteers and the general public.

When the curtain rises on the final dress rehearsal of each new production, seated in the audience are people from all walks of life, many experiencing different types of disadvantage, who have been invited to enjoy a night at the ballet as part of the JumpStart Dress Rehearsal program.

Sarah Buchanan is a participant in the program said "I have always loved ballet. I have been dancing twice a week since I was three years old. It makes me feel very happy and confident. I’m lucky. I’ve been to watch the WA Ballet many times. Watching The Nutcracker was my favourite. It was amazing!

"The stage, the dresses and the makeup – it was all beautiful. I even got to go backstage and talk to the dancers after the performance. It was so stunning and has inspired me to keep dancing and try other styles, even hip hop. I can’t wait to go back again."

To read Articulate Western Australia- How the arts speak to our communities visit:https://www.cacwa.org.au/documents/item/832

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