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Dollars for Visual Arts and Crafts


Monday, 22nd December 2003 at 12:12 pm
Staff Reporter
Commonwealth, State and Territory Cultural Ministers have made a landmark joint government response to the Contemporary Visual Arts and Craft Inquiry Report (the Rupert Myer Report) with a large injection of funds.

Monday, 22nd December 2003
at 12:12 pm
Staff Reporter


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Dollars for Visual Arts and Crafts
Monday, 22nd December 2003 at 12:12 pm

Commonwealth, State and Territory Cultural Ministers have made a landmark joint government response to the Contemporary Visual Arts and Craft Inquiry Report (the Rupert Myer Report) with a large injection of funds.

The Visual Arts and Craft Strategy is a comprehensive major new four-year investment by the Australian, State and Territory governments of at least $39 million which is designed to strengthen and sustain Australia’s visual arts and craft sector.

Ministers said this unprecedented increase in support would ensure that Australia’s visual artists continue to bring creativity and vitality to the life of the nation.

The package is designed to value, foster and promote the creativity, innovation, diversity and excellence of our contemporary visual arts and craft practitioners-allowing them to create more opportunities, to further connect with the Australian public and to engage with international developments.

In this landmark agreement, Commonwealth Government funding of $19.5 million over four years matched dollar-for-dollar by State and Territory Governments will increase funding for Australia’s contemporary visual arts and craft sector by at least 33 per cent.

The Commonwealth says the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy will provide the sector with:
– a network of stronger and more responsive art and craft organisations;
– an increase in the number of high quality Australian contemporary visual art and craft exhibitions and catalogues;
– new opportunities to tour major contemporary visual art and craft exhibitions;
– increased grant funding for individual artists and craft practitioners;
– increased professional support for Indigenous artists;
– increased support for art and craft publications, to provide opportunities for discussion about individual artists and encourage debate about issues for the sector;
– improved market exposure and sales opportunities for artists and craft practitioners; and
– greater opportunities for public engagement with visual arts and crafts.

The Visual Arts and Craft Strategy will provide increased funding in four key areas:
1. Support for infrastructure.
2. Expanding the market.
3. Support for individual artists.
4. Support for Indigenous art and craft.

The Myer Report proposed that ‘Australia should ensure that vibrant, strategic, adaptable and sustainable organisations nurture and support Australian contemporary visual artists and craft practitioners in developing their creativity, skills and professionalism, and to exhibit, promote and market their work’.

However Myer found ‘evidence of fatigue within organisations brought about by inadequate facilities, over-stretched staff and reductions in programming and exhibition activities’.

In response, the joint government strategy says it will provide additional funding for approximately 40 arts and craft organisations across Australia, including national service organisations such as the National Association for the Visual Arts and Craft Australia.

Negotiations with selected organisations to develop funding agreements will commence immediately and funding will begin to flow to this part of the sector in early 2004, with total additional funding of more than $5.1 million per annum by 2005-06.

Through the Strategy, a four-year funding package totalling over $9 million will give an immediate funding increase of $1.4 million to Victorian visual artists, craft practitioners, organisations and activities. New funding will be increased over current levels by $2.8 million from 2005-06.

Highlights of the joint four-year Victorian package include:

Individual artists, craft practitioners and Artist Run Initiatives will receive an increase of $87,000 this year, rising to $545,000 per annum from 2005-06.
The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, one of Australia’s pre-eminent contemporary art spaces, will receive an increase of $220,000 per annum in addition to an increase of $220,000 already provided, rising to $570,000 in 2005-06.
Craft Victoria will receive an $180,000 per annum increase for its exciting Flinders Lane exhibition program and to develop its publications and special events programs.
The Centre for Contemporary Photography, a key centre for photography in Victoria, will receive an increase of $90,000 per annum.
Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces will receive an increase of $125,000 per annum to develop exhibitions, publications and local, national and international studio programs.
The Melbourne Art Fair, a biannual exhibition of the best contemporary art from commercial galleries in Australia and internationally, will receive an immediate increase of $80,000, rising to $100,000 in 2005-06.
Regional Galleries in Victoria will receive an increase of $100,000 in 2003-04 rising to $190,000 in 2005-06.

Through the strategy, the NSW arts sector will receive a four-year funding package totalling more than $12,500,000. This will mean an immediate funding rise of almost $2 million to the State’s visual artists, craft practitioners and organisations in 2003-04.

Highlights of the joint NSW package include:

The Biennale of Sydney, Australia’s flagship international visual arts event, will receive an immediate and ongoing increase of $750,000 per annum.
Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design will receive a $430,000 per annum increase from January 2004 to meet the demands of its expanding audiences and extend its national and international profile.
Australian Centre for Photography will receive an increase of $310,000 per annum from January 2004, recognising its leading role and international reputation, and to provide further support for Photofile Magazine.
Artspace, Sydney’s premier contemporary art space and international studio program, will receive an immediate increase of $310,000 per annum.
The Museum of Contemporary Art will receive an increase of $250,000 per annum from 2005, doubling the current support from the Australian Government.
Regional arts support initiatives: innovative projects and exhibition development and touring will receive an increase of $250,000 from 2004.
There will be new funding of more than $320,000 in 2004-05 rising to over $700,000 from 2005-06 for NSW visual artists, craft and design practitioners, writers and independent curators.

The strategy recognises that Indigenous art is fundamentally important to Australian culture and has been growing strongly in market share and critical recognition for many years. Indigenous art centres are building community capacity, maintaining culture and generating income and employment opportunities in remote communities-whilst also producing some of Australia’s most exciting visual art.

In response, the Strategy will establish a new project fund for Indigenous art centres, to be managed by the Australia Council for the Arts. The Initiative will also provide support for peak Indigenous visual arts organisations such as Desart and ANKAAA-the Association of Northern, Kimberly and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists Inc. in the Northern Territory and Ananguku in South Australia.

Support for Indigenous art will rise by $1.8 million per annum by 2005-06.



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