Arts and Crafts Funding
As a visual artist and an arts teacher, it has saddened me to see how poorly our arts and crafts communities are supported in funding.
At the same time, Sport attracts enormous dollops of cash in sponsorships and grants from both the public and private sectors.
“... millions would appear to be mainly going to modernising massive art organisations like the Australia Council ... However, the thousands of suburban artists, craftspeople, and their unpaid volunteer-run societies and groups appear to have missed out.”
Images of the traditional artist living in a garret, struggling to survive, have been with us since the 16th century. Images of the brilliant van Gogh who hardly sold a painting in his lifetime, are even more graphic. Yet, his work nowadays commands tens of millions of dollars. Sadly too late for him!
However, I can understand why this happens. Sport attracts large sections of the wide community, so logically, government and businesses needing public support put their money and ours into where the people are!
So when I recently read that the Federal Government had launched `Revive`, a new cultural policy aimed at helping the arts to the tune of $286 million over four years, my heart skipped a beat.
This is good news, but I believe this initiative has not gone far enough. The millions would appear to be mainly going to modernising massive art organisations like the Australia Council for the Arts into a new body called `Creative Australia`. However, the thousands of suburban artists, craftspeople, and their unpaid volunteer-run societies and groups appear to have missed out.
Now a valuable lesson for all politicians and business leaders- the grassroots urgently needs your support.
Sport learned this valuable lesson. The various sports leaders had paid far too much attention to what they saw as the main game-the NRL, the AFL, International Cricket and Tennis to the exclusion of their sports grassroots- the juniors, local clubs and the like. They changed, and their main sporting events and the player's statures grew substantially.
Again, many parents will historically encourage their children to join the local football or netball club, not even considering an art or a craft club as an alternative. Why? Simply because there aren't any alternatives. There are no junior arts or crafts clubs for their children to join. And funding is absent from this important sector.
Is Australia still to be considered only as a brilliant sporting nation? Or can we tread that now overgrown arts and crafts path and blossom into the creative wonderland that can be ours.