In its 30th year, the Arts Industry Council of South Australia (AICSA) celebrates this milestone with its vision for the future

Premier Steven Marshall with AICSA Executive Committee members Amber Cronin (centre) and Nescha Jelk (right). 30th Anniversary launch, Tuesday 9 February, The Treasury. Photo by Thomas McCammon.

As the state’s independent, sector wide representative arts body, AICSA has a storied history with the development of South Australian arts. The Council was instrumental in the introduction of a new Arts Plan for the state under the Marshall Government, and successfully worked with state government and Arts South Australia for additional investment in the sector to aid creatives amid the devastation of COVID-19.

This week, the organisation gathered with colleagues from the South Australian arts sector to reflect on the state of the arts in 2021 and look forward with the announcement of a new vision.

At the 30th Anniversary launch held on Tuesday 9 February, Premier Steven Marshall congratulated AICSA on this achievement and noted several highlights:

In 2012 AICSA released CREATIVE FUTURES, to capture the essential skilling and workforce needs of the arts, creative and cultural industries. Followed in 2015 with CREATIVE BOOM a report into four sectors of strength and opportunity in the arts. Most recently the 2020 MEASURING IMPACT REPORT is the first ever quantitative survey of the impact of the small to medium arts sector on the cultural economy. Now in its 30th year AICSA launches its STRATEGIC PLAN 2021-2023.

“AICSA is very pleased to be turning 30 as the independent voice for South Australia’s amazing arts industry” said Gail Kovatseff, Chairperson of AICSA. “We are excited to be launching a new strategic plan with an even greater vision to support the sector’s cultural, economic and social impact for all South Australians – audiences, artist and arts companies.”

AICSA committee members were invited to reflect on the year that was. “COVID-19 has demonstrated just how resilient and resourceful artists are,” said Nescha Jelk, co-founder and facilitator of RUMPUS.

“From the early stages of lockdown, artists around the world were quickly adapting to create and present work online, work that contended with this strange new world we find ourselves in. After millions have worked from home this past year, COVID-19 has globally shifted the way we think about work, about how much we work, where we work, and how we value our time and wellbeing. The prompt response from our state government, in particular from the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, gave many South Australian artists hope for the future during a very bleak time.”

So how does it feel to be a thirty year old artist making art in 2021? And what will the next 30 years look like?

“We’re not on the other side of this yet, as 2021 dawns our local industry, festivals and companies continue to navigate ever more challenging pathways to sustainability and security,” said Amber Cronin, independent artist and original co-founder of The Mill.

“We attempt to understand our diverse communities’ immediate and long term needs as we shape our collective response to effects that are still coming to the surface. The conversations of young artists struggling around us shifted up a gear, as the sacrifices it takes to live a creative life were amplified by the necessary changes to our industry in response to COVID-19, right at a time when it seemed more important than ever for artists to tell the diverse stories that they represent.”

Full details of AICSA’s STRATEGIC PLAN 2021-2023 are available on the website.