The undersigned Artist Run Initiatives (ARIs) from across Australia join the wider Australian arts community in expressing concern at the recent announcement that $104.8 million has been removed from the Australia Council for the Arts, the national peer-reviewed funding body, in a move that will affect the most vulnerable of the arts community most severely.
The announcement sees a number of changes take immediate effect, including the suspension of the much anticipated six-year funding program for small to medium organisations, the cancellation of the June grant round and the abolition of strategic sector investments including ArtStart, Emerging Young Leaders Program and the Creative Communities Partnerships Initiative.
Independent organisations like the Australia Council for the Arts, which exist at arms length from political intervention, encourage participation, vibrancy and diversity within the wider Australian cultural environment.
It’s important to acknowledge that ‘excellence’ isn’t always achieved on the first attempt. New ideas and better work are often the outcome of ongoing experimentation, regularly provided to artists via support from ARIs, which operate as small, low-cost, agile and responsive platforms for experimentation, career development and community outreach.
ARIs aside, this move affects the entire arts ecosystem; from individuals beginning their career, those working in the disability sector or within regional art communities, through to the major arts organisations who benefit from the ideas and experimentation of early-career artists.
Without the funding that enables these first seeds to be sown, they will be strangled at the root.
This move contradicts the current government‘s rhetoric around the importance of innovative and creative practices to Australian culture as a whole, as these practices can only be maintained with the support of a body that is independent from politics and funded adequately.
In order to maintain the diversity and vibrancy of the arts sector, independent, non-political organisations like the Australia Council are paramount.
We reinforce the open letter to Federal Arts Minister George Brandis, ‘Australians for Artistic Freedom open letter to George Brandis’, and urge the wider community to petition against the proposed changes.
Concerned parties who would like to send a letter to their local representative are able to download a letter template at NAVA.
Invisible Inc. (Runway Australian Experimental Art) (NSW)
Cementa Inc. (NSW)
Firstdraft Inc. (NSW)
Rinse Out Inc. (Underbelly Arts) (NSW)
Das Platforms (NSW)
Articulate Project Space (NSW)
Big Fag Press (NSW)
SafARI Initiatives Inc. (NSW)
Sydney Non Objective Group Inc. (NSW)
MOP Projects (NSW)
Tortuga Studios (NSW)
55 Sydenham Road (NSW)
AirSpace Projects (NSW)
Factory 49 (NSW)
Alaska Projects (NSW)
Fontanelle Gallery & Studios (SA)
Gray Street Workshop (SA)
Bus Projects Inc. (VIC)
Un Projects Inc. (VIC)
Sticky Institute Inc. (VIC)
West Space (VIC)
Screen Space (VIC)
Kings ARI (VIC)
Moana Project Space (WA)