Arts, culture and creative

filming on location

A global reputation for artistic excellence

New South Wales's thriving arts, culture and creative sector is the largest in Australia and is expected to be a key driver of the state's economic growth, exports and innovation over the next decade.

40% of Australia's creative workforce live in NSWCreative businesses choose NSW due to its cluster of inventive filmmakers, artists, designers, writers, musicians, dancers and advertising agencies. The state also has a thriving museum and art gallery culture, which benefits from a strong pipeline of government funding and private patronage.

The creative industries sector consists of two groups: 

  • Cultural production - activities include music, performing and visual arts, libraries, museums, print and other publishing, and media production and broadcasting. 
  • Creative services - which deliver creative outputs to a mix of consumer and corporate clients, include internet and digital services, advertising services and design.

NSW's creative industries sector directly employs almost 148,000 people, representing about 4.7% of the state's workforce. The sector also accounts for about 6.8% of NSW's total services exports, worth about A$1.4 billion annually. On a national scale, NSW accounts for almost 40% of Australia's direct employment in the sector and 57.3% of Australia's creative industries services exports.

The NSW Government is continuing to invest strongly in the state's arts, cultural and screen sectors, with A$311 million provided in the 2013–14 NSW Budget. This includes A$250 million for cultural institutions (comprised of A$185 million in operating grants and A$65 million for infrastructure upgrades) and A$51 million for the Arts NSW funding program.

Opportunities for investors

Visitors spent 8.3 billion in NSW in 2013Investors can support NSW's many talented artists in their endeavours to export their creative output globally, as well as fund arts projects and festivals across the state.

The NSW Government, through Arts NSW, actively partners with the private sector, organising exhibitions and performances of local artists. The Arts and Cultural Development Program (ACDP) also supports the sector by delivering quality arts and cultural experiences, funding projects and programs that create the greatest impact and value.

NSW Trade & Investment can assist investors by providing comprehensive information on the state's creative arts sector. We can also organise introductions with relevant arts bodies.

Sydney – one of the world's most creative cities

Sydney has twice been voted the world's top festival and events city by the International Festivals and Events Association. It offers an exciting fusion of leading performance companies, venues and facilities including:

  • Sydney Festival
  • Chinese New Year Festival 
  • Vivid Sydney light and music extravaganza
  • Sydney Biennale
  • Writers' Festival
  • Comedy Festival 
  • Film Festival

Sydney is also home to world-renowned performance companies such as: 

  • Australian Chamber Orchestra
  • Bangarra Dance Theatre
  • Opera Australia
  • Sydney Dance Company 
  • Sydney Theatre Company

Regional NSW is rich in arts and cultural diversity

Regional Arts NSW supports and promotes the arts and cultural development among the 1.7 million people living and working in regional NSW by offering arts and cultural grants. It is also the peak body and support agency for arts and cultural development in regional NSW.

NSW's thriving regional arts community is also supported by a network of regional performing arts venues and 14 Regional Arts Development Boards, which provide strategic direction for the arts and cultural development activities in their regions.

NSW Creative Laureate & NSW Emerging Creative Talent Awards

The NSW Creative Laureate & NSW Emerging Creative Talent Awards showcase NSW creative industries' achievements and recognise individuals or organisations that have provided an outstanding contribution towards excellence.

The prestigious NSW Creative Laureate recognises an individual, team or organisation that has demonstrated significant leadership and made a significant contribution to increasing the global profile of NSW Creative Industries. The Award celebrates the very best of the State's creative talent.

The NSW Emerging Creative Talent award recognises an individual, team or organisation considered emerging in their sector and where they have demonstrated leadership in originality and innovation, and contributed to raising the global profile of NSW Creative Industries. This Award offers support for future development with a cash prize of $15,000.

Read more about the inaugural awards winners.