AICSA MEDIA RELEASE: Four Year Funding brings relief and shock to SA arts sector

Monday 6th April 2020
For immediate release

On Friday 3 April the Australia Council for the Arts announced that 144 Australian arts organisations will receive a share of $31.7M per annum in funding offered through the revised Four Year Funding for Organisations program.

In South Australia, the announcement has brought relief to some organisations and shock to others. In total nine organisations from South Australia have received funding from 2021-2024, this is a reduction from eleven organisations funded in the previous Four Year Funding round 2016-2020.

AICSA Chair Gail Kovatseff said today, “AICSA congratulates the organisations who have been successful in receiving Four Year Funding and acknowledges the focus on community and Indigenous organisations with ACTNOW THEATRE FOR SOCIAL CHANGE and ANANGUKU ARTS & CULTURAL CORPORATION receiving multi year funding for the first time.”

She continued, “We are also pleased to see that following the merger of Contemporary Art Centre and Australian Experimental Art Foundation that ACE OPEN at the Lion Arts Centre has also received multi-year funding.”

However several South Australian organisations who were funded in the previous round 2016-2020 have not received ongoing funding – ART GALLERY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA, ARTLINK AUSTRALIA, RESTLESS DANCE THEATRE and SOUTH AUSTRALIAN COUNTRY ARTS TRUST. These organisations will receive one year of transitional funding in 2021 at 70% of current levels.

The de-funding of RESTLESS DANCE THEATRE in particular has sent shockwaves through the South Australian community. Restless has achieved great success recently with its award-winning production Intimate Space embarking on national and international touring following its 2017 premier at the Adelaide Festival. It was only in March of this year that Artistic Director Michelle Ryan won the prestigious Australia Council Dance Award in recognition of her brilliant contribution to the dance sector over many years.

Michelle Ryan said today about the Australia Council decision, “Restless Dance Theatre is devastated by the news that the company’s application for multi-year funding (2021-24) was unsuccessful. As the only dance company that provides professional career pathways for artists with disability, this decision puts Restless in a very precarious position. We strive to create bold new work that celebrates diversity on stage but our wings have now been clipped.”

Gail Kovatseff added, “Restless Dance Theatre is an exemplar arts organisation that achieves great things with a very small team, employing artists with disabilities and bringing the work of these amazing artists to audiences world-wide.”

She continued, “It is disappointing to see the number of Four Year Funded organisations in South Australia reduced from eleven to nine in this round. Federal government support is vital to South Australian artists and organisations especially at this time of COVID-19 where ongoing sustainability in the arts is in peril. Whilst the overall budget for Four Year Funding has been increased from $28M to $31.7M we are still unsure how much of this increase will flow to South Australian organisations.”

Organisations who were funded in 2016-2020 and who will continue to receive Four Year Funding are AUSTRALIAN DANCE THEATRE, AUSTRALIAN NETWORK FOR ART AND TECHNOLOGY, AUSTRALIAN STRING QUARTET, JAMFACTORY, PATCH THEATRE COMPANY and WINDMILL.

TANDANYA NATIONAL ABORIGINAL CULTURAL INSTITUTE which had received funding from 2016-2020 is not included in the list of transitional organisations or successful recipients 2021-2024.

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