Arts Industry Council of South Australia seeking a $17milllion+ investment in artists and small-to-medium arts organisations in the next State Budget
The Arts Industry Council of South Australia (AICSA) has written to South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis proposing five initiatives that would see over $17million invested in small-to-medium arts organisations, individual artists and innovation in the arts across four years.
AICSA have also asked the South Australian Government to form a cross-departmental 18-month State Government taskforce, to develop a long-term arts and cultural strategy for South Australia prior to the next State election.
“This type of cross-government approach successfully led to a sector-supported, ambitious and progressive creative industries strategy, called Creative State, in Victoria, launched earlier this year”, said Gail Kovatseff, Chairperson of AICSA and Director of the Media Resource Centre.
In the letter to the Treasurer, AICSA congratulated the Government for returning funds previously cut to Arts South Australia, in this year’s budget, as well as other investment in projects such as the upgrade to Her Majesty’s Theatre, the Adelaide Festival’s presentation of Saul, Made in Adelaide and other infrastructure and presentation platforms.
The letter notes, however, that funding for the small-to-medium sector, independent artists, community engagement, and innovation in the arts, remains at an all-time low and needs urgent investment.
Coupled with a hostile Federal environment for arts organisations and artists, the picture is very bleak for South Australian arts; the sector is in immediate danger of losing numerous well-loved arts organisations, as well as artists and arts leaders to other sectors of the economy and to other states such as Victoria.
“Losing arts organisations and artists undermines investment in festivals, arts markets, cultural infrastructure, the nighttime and small bars economy, and more broadly it greatly undermines the marketing of Adelaide as an arts capital”, said Ms Kovatseff.
The five proposed initiatives include a 40% increase funds available for Arts South Australia’s peer-assessed programs that directly benefit small-to-medium organisations and individual artists, indexed over four years.
AICSA has proposed two new programs for investment directly into the practice and careers of artists themselves – a Fellowships for Established Artists Program and an Early Career Artist Development Fund. This would see South Australia offering one the nation’s best fellowship and career development opportunities.
AICSA have also proposed a new Innovation and Experimentation Fund that would distribute $1million each year to new work and artistic projects, and harness creative contribution to the innovation agenda.
“Investment in Arts South Australia’s Independent Makers and Presenters program, new fellowships and career development programs, and an Innovation and Experimentation Fund, would see many new works created and would encourage artists to remain in South Australia”, said Corey McMahon, AICSA executive committee member and freelance theatre director.
“We need to see arts funding going more directly to artists themselves. There are many benefits to being a city and state where artists want to live and practice; however this will never be viable for artists while the opportunities available to them here are so low compared to other cities. A relatively small investment in the next State Budget could start the process of turning this situation around,” he said.
The proposed initiatives are about investing in the heart of art-making in South Australia, in artists themselves and keeping them in South Australia, and in the future of contemporary, global artistic practice in South Australia.
AICSA executive committee member and Director of small arts organisation Vitalstatistix, Emma Webb, said “In putting forward these five budget bids AICSA is clearly saying what we feel needs priority in any new arts expenditure in the next State Budget and through new initiatives of Arts South Australia.”
“It is actually a fairly modest ask in the context of the Budget and the small size of the arts portfolio. We know the State Government is doing their best to support further investment in arts and culture and we look forward to rich conversation with the government about this proposal.”
“The next State Budget, in June 2017, will of course influence how AICSA campaigns towards the March 2018 State election; we will be asking all parties release policies with funds attached that support a rich ecosystem of arts and culture in South Australia”, she concluded.
AICSA will be holding their first event for the year on Wednesday January 25, to raise funds towards their 2017 state
The full list of five State Budget initiatives proposed by AICSA is provided below.
AICSA 2017-2018 State budget bid
Investing in the heart of art-making in South Australia
1. A $2m per annum, plus indexation, increase to funds available for Arts South Australia’s peer-assessed programs that directly benefit small-to-medium organisations and individual artists.
The increase would represent an approximately 40% increase in funds available to Arts Organisations Program (increase of $1,224,000 p/a); Independent Makers and Presenters ($354,000 p/a); and other programs including community arts and cultural development, ATSI arts development, disability and contemporary music ($422,000 p/a). With indexation at 1.5% this would cost approx. $8.2m over four years.
Investing directly in artists and keeping artists in South Australia
2. Fellowships for Established Artists Program
Eight annual fellowships, of $80,000 each, offered annually across artistic disciplines for artists who are ten-plus years into professional practice. The fellowships would be peer assessed and managed within Arts South Australia’s Independent Makers and Presenters program. This initiative is valued at $2.56m over four years.
3. Early Career Artist Development Fund
Twenty early-career artist development grants per annum, of $30,000 each, targeted at professional and art form development opportunities for artists in their first ten years of professional practice. This initiative is valued at approximately $2.4m over four years.
Investing in the future of contemporary, global artistic practice in South Australia
4. Innovation and Experimentation Fund
A new peer assessed grant program offered twice per year for new work and artistic projects, which demonstrate innovation and experimentation. Open to both individual artists and arts organisations. Annual budget of $1million, indexed over four years. With indexation, this initiative is valued at approximately $4.1m over four years.
Developing an ambitious arts and cultural strategy for South Australia
5. A cross-departmental State Government taskforce, to develop an arts and cultural strategy for South Australia prior to the next State election.
To build upon the above urgent initiatives, AICSA proposes a taskforce to develop a longer-term arts and cultural strategy.
The taskforce would include, at a minimum, the Department of State Development, Department for Communities and Social Inclusion, Department for Education and Child Development, Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, Department for Health and Ageing, Department of Premier and Cabinet, and the Department of Treasury and Finance. The taskforce would release a report prior to the next State election.
These initiatives for the 2017-2018 budget are valued at approximately $17.26m across four years, plus the taskforce for creating a new arts and cultural strategy for South Australia.