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Keeping the lights bright for art and culture

Sydney’s night-time arts and culture scene will receive a boost with nine organisations ready to keep their doors open after dark, attracting new audiences to the CBD and driving economic activity.

Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade Alister Henskens said the latest $3.6 million Culture Up Late series, part of the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government’s $50 million CBDs Revitalisation Program, aims to strengthen the continued recovery of Greater Sydney.

“Our investment in Culture Up Late since 2021 has supported more than 1,020 events and activities across 531 nights, attracted more than 190,000 visitors and championed 2,661 artists and 1,734 arts workers,” Mr Henskens said.

“Culture Up Late unlocks our city’s incredible assets, drawing more visitors to our much-loved museums, galleries and performance spaces, and helping to drive our wider efforts to build a sustainable night-time economy and cement Sydney as a rich cultural destination.”

From now until September, select venues, museums and galleries will regularly stay open until 9pm, offering world-class exhibitions, live music and DJ sets, film screenings, workshops and talks, complemented by pop-up bars and dining opportunities.

Minister for the Arts and Tourism Ben Franklin said the expanded initiative benefits art lovers and supports employment opportunities for an industry hit hard by the pandemic.

“Following record investment in our iconic cultural institutions, we want to keep the lights on longer and enable wider access to our very best experiences, as well as providing new opportunities for performers, creatives and arts workers,” Mr Franklin said.

“Arts and cultural events are major economic drivers and drawcards to the CBD. We are delighted to offer more people more access to unforgettable exhibitions, performances and festivals through this fantastic initiative.”

NSW 24-Hour Economy Commissioner Michael Rodrigues said Culture Up Late delivers on the government's 24-Hour Economy Strategy, which commits to extending opening hours for cultural institutions.

“Previous iterations of Culture Up Late have demonstrated that Sydneysiders will head to galleries and museums when the sun goes down, if their doors are open. This ongoing investment will continue to support our major institutions in their various stages of developing after-hours business models,” Mr Rodrigues said.

“Whether it’s a quick stop with friends after work, a post school activity before family dinner, or as part of a night on the town, Culture Up Late gives folk some flexibility when it comes to their entertainment choices.”

The nine organisations taking part in this series of Culture Up Late are:

  • Art Gallery of NSW – Every Wednesday, experience inspired events and exhibitions across the Art Gallery campus, including The End of Imagination by Adrian Villas Rojas, The National 4 and NAIDOC Week
  • Australian Museum –  The Australian Museum's FREE after-hours culture fix is back, giving you the chance to explore the incredible galleries and exhibitions until 9pm every Wednesday night
  • Carriageworks – Artist led nights including live performance, music, local food and behind-the-scenes access
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Australia – On Friday nights, visit exhibitions after dark, experience evolving programs of live performances, artist talks or workshops
  • Museums of History NSW – Join after dark for talks, tours, live music, sensory experiences, First Nations discussions, rum tasting and more
  • National Art School – Immerse yourself in multi art form performances, discover the artists of tomorrow and view, interact and make art at NAS NEO, free program every month
  • Powerhouse Ultimo – With unique collaborators each Thursday night, Powerhouse Ultimo comes to life with exhibitions, talks, performance and music focusing on creative industries
  • State Library of NSW – Experience the State Library after dark with engaging performances, workshops, conversations and debates, plus special events at the new rooftop Library Bar
  • Sydney Opera House – Join Sydney's iconic Opera House for 50th anniversary after-dark celebrations including live outdoor performances and feature events with the Museum of Sydney and MCA

 Find out more about the program at www.investment.nsw.gov.au/CultureUpLate