The City of Sydney has announced $3 million in funding for 14 new projects and events happening over the 12 months from June 2022 to June 2023. The projects aim to get punters back into the city’s villages and precincts, and reinvigorate cultural activities in those areas. The city will also waive fees for outdoor events, power access and venue hire for the approved projects.
The 14 projects include a street party in Redfern, which will also feature a month-long exhibition program. The area around Commonwealth Street in Surry Hills will be reinvigorated as the Hollywood “micro-precinct”, with a six-week program drawing together local bars and restaurants to highlight art, live music and culture.
Chinatown – which has been hard-hit during the pandemic – will burst with activity, thanks to two grants awarded to projects in the area. Art in the Heart of Haymarket will celebrate modern and traditional Asian cultures found in Chinatown, with public art popping up across the suburb. And the two-month-long Neon Playground by Chinatown activation, in partnership with Soul of Chinatown, Basalt Studio, Bespok3 and the Haymarket Chamber of Commerce, will immerse visitors in light installations, with Chinatown’s famous gates illuminated during the festival.
“Our project seeks to highlight Chinatown’s ‘cool’ and draw people back throughout the spring months,” Andrea Plawutsky, Neon Playground’s project manager, said in a statement. “This is a collaborative effort and an important opportunity to engage the businesses, artists and broad community and to connect with their memories and love of Chinatown.”
Other events include a six-weekend street festival on buzzy Stanley Street in Darlinghurst, monthly farmers’ markets in Circular Quay, a festival on Kensington Street in Chippendale (happening at the same time as Sydney Festival) and a “festival of fire” in the Locomotive Workshop at South Eveleigh, which will feature wine, food and Aboriginal dance groups.
There’s also six months’ worth of Friday-night music, sound installations and workshops in Erskineville that’ll end in a three-day festival; a six-week food and wine festival in Surry Hills, a four-week festival in the YCK Laneways hub; an open day in the new Walsh Bay Arts Precinct; and a seven-month series of events in the newly created Tech Central precinct, near Central Station, to promote local tech companies.
“Almost as soon as Covid lockdowns were introduced, the doomsayers were predicting the death of the city, but I’m hopeful this has been overstated,” said City of Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore in a statement. “We are working to draw people back to the city and creating spaces for businesses to operate safely – to breathe life into our CBD and see it buzz once more. Through concerts, performances and events, grants to help businesses collaborate and enliven their precincts, and more than 400 new al fresco dining spaces, we’re helping our city bounce back post-pandemic.”
The precinct activation grants program starts in June.