The Ballarat International Foto Bienalle (BIFB) has secured a $250,000 five-year strategic partnership grant with the Ballarat City Council.
The partnership will be in place until 2024, with BIFB receiving $75,000 each year and an additional $25,000 every second year – so $175,000 per Biennale. (Just think what Jeff Moorfoot and his team could have done with that much dosh!)
Ballarat Councillors voted on the deal during a council meeting on February 20.
The partnership also permits BIFB to use venues and assets free-of-charge across the City of Ballarat during each festival, including Alfred Deakin Place, the Art Gallery of Ballarat temporary exhibition space, the Ballarat Mining Exchange, Unicorn Lane art windows, City of Ballarat shipping containers, the Ballarat Town Hall A-Hall and Backspace Gallery.
BIFB director, Fiona Sweet, highlighted the contributions the festival has had on Ballarat to the Ballarat newspaper, The Courier.
‘In 2017, we had more than 26,800 people in our streets and laneways,’ she claimed. ‘Most were tourists from Melbourne who ate and drank at local cafes, shopped in our streets and stayed in our hotels.
‘This year we have incredibly exciting headline artist lined up, three cash photographic prizes, a major Indigenous photographic exhibition, over 200 artists exhibiting, a year-round education program for all ages, community programs throughout our region and some incredible surprises planned for our audiences.
‘This year we have an even bigger education and community engagement program, and most importantly we have “Ballarat” in our name. We are here to stay and have continued to support Ballarat since 2009.’
In 2017, the festival contributed more than $3.89 million to the Ballarat economy, she further claimed, which she hopes to improve by moving BIFB to an ambitious 60-day event.
Under Sweet’s direction, BIFB also expanded to include a permanent National Centre for Photography, which recently launched with an exhibition and artist-in-residency by sculptor, Robbie Rowlands.
The festival is now a International Association of Biennale member, a non-profit arts association formed in 2013 that represents the interests of cultural events that are held once every two years.
The Ballarat International Foto Biennale will run from August 23 – October 20 across the regional city of Ballarat, Victoria.