Friday the 13th is truly a terrible day for the Australian arts community. This morning the full results were announced for the federal Australia Council for the Arts 4-year organisational funding. And the results were decimating.
The idea that the arts is propped up by government funding is ludicrous in this day and age. I’m yet to see or work in an organisation that doesn’t drive revenue from multiple sources; government, philanthropy, sponsorship and generated revenue through members, tickets or retail. That said, the government support is crucial to the survival of many.
Before we get all “but other industries don’t get hand outs” it’s worth mentioning that a) they do in a whole variety of ways, and b) the creative capital that begins in the arts flows through to all other sectors. The creative industries (to use my broader, thesis driven economic term) brings economic, social AND cultural good. Where would Melbourne tourism be without our laneways, galleries and street art? To name just one.
When a car manufacturer closes in Adelaide we get front page news, opinion pieces and government debate. The impact to individuals is considered along with the broader supply chain issues and the ramifications to the life of a city.
But 62 arts organisations across Australia lost federal funding this week. What’s the impact of this to the people working in them? The artists they support? The community they work within? The customers who see/hear/watch/experience or buy their works? This impact is incalculable.
My current part time/contact employer was one of the lucky ones. My former employer was not. My heart is heavy today.