Emerging Artists Hurt By Australia Council Cuts

Young and emerging artists have borne the brunt of the politically-motivated decision by the Abbott Government to slash $110 million from the Australia Council

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

EMERGING ARTISTS HURT MOST BY AUSTRALIA COUNCIL CUTS

 

 

Young and emerging artists have borne the brunt of the politically-motivated decision by the Abbott Government to slash $110 million from the Australia Council.

 

On Thursday, the Australia Council announced that it will not proceed with the next round of arts funding grants, scrapped programs and suspend funding for some organisations. Some of these programs are targeted at small to medium-sized arts companies and young artists.

 

This announcement has revealed as hollow the claim by arts minister George Brandis that the cash grab from the Australia Council to establish a slush fund in his department will not hurt Australian artists.

 

The announcement by the Australia Council is a clear consequence of the cuts in last week’s Budget.

 

Art companies that miss out must now rely on the whim of Senator Brandis for funding due to these mean-spirited budget cuts. They are currently in the dark about what criteria will be used by the Minister to make funding decisions.

 

As made clear by the Council in its statement of 21 May 2014, the cuts have greatly reduced the funding available for new grants applications. As a result, the Australia Council June grant round, including government programs, will not proceed and the ArtStart, Creative Communities Partnerships Initiative and Artists in Residence programs will not be offered in the future.

 

ArtStart provides grants of up to $10,000 to creative arts graduates just starting out in their careers. The grants provided the resources, skills development and equipment needed for early career artists, writers, and performing artists to set themselves up

  

Creative Communities Partnerships support opportunities for Australians to participate in arts and cultural activities in the places where they live, encouraging innovation and enhancing community wellbeing. The grants ranged between $50,000 and $600,000, with a maximum of $200,000 in any one year.

 

“This announcement shows that these cuts to the Australia Council funding will directly affect new and emerging artists and small organisations," said shadow arts minister Mark Dreyfus QC.

 

“This will have a knock-on effect on other arts organisations that draw on this talented pool of up and comers. It will diminish the vibrancy of Australian art.”

 

“We can expect, as happened in Queensland when the Newman Government came to office, that artists will leave the field and arts bodies will go broke. They will not be able to afford to continue."

 

FRIDAY, 22 MAY 2015