Craig Donarski

Director, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (CPAC)

CPAC has been undergoing a renaissance that is seeing audiences growing significantly while the quality of the multi-arts offering increases. With Craig at the helm of policy and programming for CPAC, Liverpool’s arts and culture presence, deeply connected to the area’s rich multicultural and Indigenous heritage, continues to gain positive exposure.

For more than three decades Craig has been a major contributor to Australia’s vibrant arts and culture, having managed Marketing & Communications for Sydney Film Festival and the 16 regional events under the Travelling Film Festival banner prior to his current role. During his tenure Sydney Film Festival experienced significant growth in both income and audiences, going from 100,000 to more than 180,000 attendees.

Before then Craig spent 11 years at Sydney Opera House in the Producers Unit, in a team developing a range of creative and engaging programs, festivals and special events which added to SOH’s celebrated cultural offering and broadened the audience base.

Craig began his career at ABC as a Broadcasting Trainee, leading to twelve years working as a Broadcaster and Executive Producer at youth radio station Triple J, a number of other ABC radio outlets and ABC TV.

Presentation:

Shaping Liverpool’s identity through arts and culture

Liverpool is one of the most multicultural cities in Australia, Sydney’s third CBD and the gateway city to the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport.

As a rapidly growing city, it is important that Liverpool retains its strong community identity, and this is being achieved through our arts, culture and community development projects.

Liverpool’s premier arts and cultural facility, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (CPAC), matches the ambitions of the community that funds it. In this session, Kiersten and Craig will discuss how CPAC subverts the traditional curatorial process in favour of a more democratic and inclusive approach.

In the past year, the centre has delivered more than 400 events in its Public Program and Education areas and these have been attended by more than 60,000 visitors. From the Iraqi Cultural Festival to the Afro Latino Festival, CPAC brings people together across generations, cultures and languages, and in turn provides this diverse community with a vital gathering place to reflect on what makes them distinct.

Adding to the sense of place that CPAC drives for its community, Liverpool City Council has an ambitious program of cultural activation in the CBD. To help realise an aspiration of a vibrant 18 hour city, Council has developed an ongoing program of events, pop ups, festivals, creative industry support and public art delivered through partnerships and with the local community to further build on the way in which local arts contribute to the community’s collective identity.