On 22nd January 2020 Arts Industry Council of SA (AICSA) launched MEASURING IMPACT, the inaugural report into valuing the contribution of the small to medium arts sector in SA.

Download the report AICSA Measuring Impact Report (PDF 700kb)

South Australia’s small to medium arts sector and independent artists are a major contributor to South Australia’s reputation, well-being and economy and have often been described as the engine room of the arts.

To date there has been no data available on the combined impact of the sector. In order to address this, AICSA appointed independent consultants Jones MacQueen in 2019 to establish templates to gather data, statistics and information.

The small to medium sector in South Australia are the companies, organisations, producers and independent artists who sit outside of the statutory bodies, major festivals and major companies framework. They are generally financed through a mixed funding model, including support through arts funding programs. A total of 33 organisations (10 regional and 23 metropolitan) responded providing data from their 2018 activities, programs and annual reports.

Gail Kovatseff Chair of Arts Industry Council said, “MEASURING IMPACT focuses on the economic, artistic, employment and audience impact of the small to medium sector. It measures the activity of companies who operate throughout the year presenting original Australian work to many thousands of people and providing employment to South Australian artists and arts workers.”

She continued, “AICSA is thrilled that the sector has responded so positively with 80% of Arts South Australia supported companies providing their data plus other funded organisations, regional galleries, independent companies and artists. It’s a compelling snapshot of the combined impact of the sector.”

One of the most impressive figures is not only the depth of engagement but the breadth. 1.8mil people experienced the work of SA’s small to medium companies, of those 135,305 attended free events in regional SA, and just as impressively 211,480 tickets were sold to international audiences. 

Barry Burgan, Professor of Management, Deputy Dean, Director of the BBT MBA, Bond Business School provided commentary on the Financial Results saying, “The sector is commercially oriented and entrepreneurial, generating 40% of its financing from sales revenue ($9.8mil in ticket sales, entry fees and other income).”


The businesses surveyed as representative of the small to medium arts sector generated revenues and financing in 2018 of $25.4mil

The sector generated $9.8mil in ticket sales, entry fees and other income

State government funding was $6.368mil representing 25% of total income

The lean and robust small to medium arts sector generates an additional $3 of earned and inkind income from every $1 invested by the SA government

The amount paid directly to artists in the year 2018 was $5.92mil, 24% of total revenues/financing

It is a challenge for the small to medium sector to secure sponsorship with only 1% of income derived from commercial sponsorship

The sector has more success with philanthropic support receiving 5% of revenue and financing from philanthropy and donations

1.8 million people experienced work made or presented by the sector in Australia and overseas in ticketed and free performances, exhibitions and other events

339,189 people bought tickets to the work of SA’s small to medium arts companies
75,801 in metropolitan Adelaide
14,948 in regional SA
36,960 interstate
211,480 international presentations

148,392 people attended free events in metropolitan SA and 135,305 people in regional SA

The small to medium sector presented a total of 445 Australian works, 67% of all programming in 2018

850+ artists employed and sub-contracted

220+ arts workers employed

Volunteers are essential to the arts and culture sector with 1,019 volunteers contributing 61,632 hours of unpaid work