Arts NSW was established as a branch of the Department of the Arts, Sport and Recreation following the abolition of the Ministry for the Arts. (1)
Arts NSW advised the New South Wales Government on all aspects of arts and cultural activity. Its main activities were: to oversee government arts projects and capital spending; to develop policy advice on the State's cultural institutions; to administer a cultural grants program supporting arts activities; and, to manage government owned-properties leased to arts organisations. Arts NSW served arts and cultural organisations and artists. By managing grants, venues and capital spending Arts NSW strenghtened the viability of arts organisations and enabled creativity. Arts NSW also developed impartial advice on the arts for the government to maximise the impact of public spending. (2)
Arts NSW provided a leadership role for cultural institutions. In 2006 the cultural institutions in the arts portfolio, each of which was a statutory body with its own council or board of trustees, were: Art Gallery of New South Wales; Australian Museum; Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales; Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (Powerhouse Museum); NSW Film and Television Office; State Library of New South Wales; State Records Authority of New South Wales; and, Sydney Opera House. (3) Responsibility for the State Records Authority transferred to the Department of Commerce on 1 November 2006. (4)
Arts NSW's vision was stated as: 'To foster a spirited arts and cultural environment that values our artists and our heritage, builds community, excites the imagination and inspires our future.' Its mission was stated as: 'We work for the people of New South Wales by supporting the arts and cultural sector, providing advice to government, and advocating a meaningful role for the arts in the everyday life of all citizens. (5)
From 1 July 2009 when the Department of the Arts, Sport and Recreation was abolished Arts NSW became a branch of the new Principal Department, Communities NSW. (6)
From 4 April 2011 when Communities NSW was abolished Arts NSW became a branch of the Principal Department, the Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services. (7)
(1) Public Sector Employment and Management (General) Order 2006, cl. 5; NSW Government Gazette No.30, 3 March 2006, p.1053.
(2) Department of the Arts, Sport and Recreation, Annual Report, 2005-06, p.2.
(3) Ibid., pp.2, 26.
(4) NSW Government Gazette No. 127, 27 October 2006, p.8903.
(5) Department of the Arts, Sport and Recreatin, op. cit., p.3.
(6) Public Sector Employment and Management (Departmental Amalgamations) Order 2009 (2009 No 352), cl. 6; notified on NSW Legislation website, 27 July 2009.
(7) Public Sector Employment and Management (Departments) Order 2011 (2011 No 184) cls. 23; notified on NSW Legislation website, 3 April 2011.