We will be attending the Art: Not Apart, Shaken Up: Canberra Arts funding panel discussion, tomorrow at The National Film and Sound Archive. Arts Reporter thinks it knows how to solve the war over arts funding in Australia.
Every government we vote in wants to play politics with the arts. This constant confusion over funding keeps artists and groups from focusing on what they do best. Will it ever change?
The solution to keeping the arts buoyant
The arts is not about making money. Without proper support, no arts group can produce quality and original works that affects and supports communities, the public and artists.
No one should need to be told the benefits that the arts produce for everyone. Australian governments are great at flag waving when it comes to artists who make it, but their support needs to go a lot further than that. However, sometimes governments get their support for the arts right — not often, though.
We need to do a survey of arts groups, the artists and institutions that need support. Just like any cost analysis for any business, we need to measure, to make sure that the arts have enough cash flow to properly maintain itself. Then that money needs to be allocated to an independent body and the money disseminated.
What the arts need to do
Arts groups and institutions need to have a proper business plan, just like any smart business does before they are given any funds. Some already have this in place.
If you’ve ever applied for a grant from the Australia Council for the Arts, you will know how grinding the application can be. But, arts groups or individuals requiring funds just have to go through that process to get funding.
A stronger focus on communities will make the arts more appealing. Certain arts institutions in Australia are stand-alone operations and don’t do enough to include communities in their output.
Arts groups should work better between themselves. However, the battle over funding and other issues drives them apart.
Australian stories should be heard first and loudest. Especially Australian orchestral and art music and popular music when it’s transmitted.
What the arts does not need to do
Artists and groups do not need to be producing artworks that fit certain criteria so they can get funding. Just like universities should not be pushing artists down a particular path because it is the latest trend.
What you can do to help the arts
Stop voting in governments that do not have a proper policy for the arts.
In the last election, The Arts Party received 1.6 million votes. If more people voted for them, they would be able to have a greater influence over the government and push for better arts policies and funding. We don’t expect them to ever get into power in Australia, as the arts are only one issue, all be it a major one, but more people voting for them will help the arts.
The ABC is the key to this dilemma
We already have a national producer and communicator of the arts, it’s called the ABC. They could be the body that facilitates the funding to artists and groups.
The ABC already have a strong knowledge and understanding of the issues. This ABC article goes into the history of arts funding in Australia. From cows to cash: Australia’s long history of arts funding
Again, this body needs to be independent. The ABC has more experience in the arts than any other group in Australia. Properly set up, and managed, the ABC could solve the problems that the Australian arts industries face.