About Us

Regional Arts Victoria

Supporting the Arts in Regional Victoria

Regional Arts Victoria backs artists and communities across regional Victoria to make, participate in, and experience creative work.

Regional Arts Victoria is an independent, not-for-profit, membership-based organisation working in long-term partnerships with every level of government, fostering contemporary and innovative regional cultural practice. We advise and impact on decision-making across multiple portfolios and levels of government.

Regional Arts Victoria is the peak body for regional artists and arts organisations, and the leading organisation for regional creative practice in Victoria.


What We’re working On

Regional Arts Victoria’s 2021-25 Strategic Framework outlines externally-facing (1-3) and one internally-focused (4) Objectives, each with Intended Outcomes and planned Activities:

Regional Arts Victoria will empower artists, venues and communities in our regions to see their creative practice as a driver of their local community, their creative work as a driver of their local culture, and themselves as drivers of creative places.

  1. Regional Partnerships: Victorian regions equipped with locally-relevant creative strategies, personnel and resources;
  2. Programming: Artists exchanging experiences with regional communities;
  3. Strategic Initiatives: Artist-led responses to significant issues facing regional Victoria; and,
  4. Governance and Policy: A well-governed organisation trusted and respected by our communities and partners.

Each of these Objectives is outlined in further detail in the Strategic Framework you can download here.


Our History

Founded in 1969, the Victorian Arts Council began its life as an umbrella body of regional arts councils, serving as the Victorian branch of the Arts Council of Australia (now Regional Arts Australia). Initially, the Victorian Arts Council supported performing arts touring, as well as offering resources and support for its affiliated regional arts councils. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the organisation developed in complexity in response to regional arts needs, and its formal incorporation in 1981 streamlined its business practices.

A comprehensive independent review in the late 1990s undertook valuable work in reflecting on the artistic legacy of the Victorian Arts Council’s first three decades. Its key recommendations centred around the need to create a unique suite of Victorian arts programs, rather than serving as the Victorian branch of the national body.

In response, the organisation’s artistic programming in the 2000s developed sophisticated new focuses in education, cultural partnerships, major projects, and of course touring, in what was fast becoming an increasingly intricate national touring landscape. Government partnerships were strengthened, resulting in devolved grant relationships with all levels of government, as well as partner-funded Regional Arts Development Officer positions.

Today’s organisation is a company limited by guarantee, rebranded as Regional Arts Victoria in 1999. The organisation broadened its vision and its scope to encompass artists and arts organisations across Victoria, connecting artists and communities. Regional Arts Victoria’s current scope encompasses all artforms, all creative practices, and all modes of artistic experience.


Regional Arts Victoria’s Leadership 

  Chairs  Directors
1969 – 1976 David Hamer
1977 – 1983 John Riordan
1984 – 1988 Gwendolyn Stainton
1989 – 1990 Bill Cook
1991 – 1996 Brian W Hewitt
1997 – 2002 David Madden
2003 – 2008 Mike Zafiropoulos AM, JP
2009 – 2013 Dennis Goldner
2013 – 2018 Bruce Esplin AM
2018 – 2022 Kath M Mainland CBE
2022 – Present Sue Hunt
  1969 – 1971 Neil Case
  1971 – 1972 Patricia Marshall
  1973 – 1974 Peter Batey
  1975 – 1998 Don MacKay
  1998 – 2004 Peter Matthews
  2004 – 2012 Lindy Allen
  2012 – 2017 Esther Anatolitis
  2017 – 2022 Joe Toohey
  2022 – present Jo Porter