Arts Hub, Tamara Winikoff
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Arts activists today are celebrating the success of the call for a Senate Inquiry by ArtsPeak, the confederation of national peak arts organisations.
After the first federal arts budget shock waves passed through the arts community it quickly began to mobilise. It is unusual for arts people to unify and take public action. However, in this case, differences are being put aside to deal with the bigger challenge that is posed to the fragile and vulnerable contemporary arts ecology. What has been put at risk is the Australia Council’s remaining discretionary funding which has an emphasis on diversity and innovation through the support given to more experimental and innovative work produced by contemporary artists and supported through the engine room of the S2Ms.
ArtsPeak took the lead in immediately calling for a Senate Inquiry and many other action groups began to form. Petitions are being signed, letter campaigns organised, meetings held with decision makers at federal and state level and fun events staged with serious intentions like the national dance action in May and the satirical images produced for Art of Brandis.
A large delegation will be in Canberra to meet with arts politicians on Thursday 18th June to express their concern and ask for changes to be made. They will be calling for the protection of the Australia Council from raids on its budget and an increase in arts funding overall to deal with the lack of support for the volume of excellent and diverse projects on offer. They will draw attention to the danger of jeopardising the small businesses run by artists.