Monday, November 11, 2013

Savage Art Cuts - the Bastards!

The link - Savage Queensland Arts Cuts! This is the source of text!
 Tamara Winikoff - Executive Director, National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA)'

'The Queensland arts sector is reeling following the announcement by the Arts Minister of the complete defunding of 15 arts organisations and cuts to a number of others estimated at 30%.
Conversely, the major performing arts organisation have had a substantial boost, with the Queensland Ballet being able to double its budget in just two years and funding increases to La Boite, CIRCA and Camerata of St John’s (Brisbane).


The small to medium visual arts organisations have been particularly hard hit. For fear of becoming a further target, organisational representatives are loath to make any on the record comments, but one said to me, 'This Newman Government simply supports the kind of arts that provide diversionary entertainment activity.


Perversely, some organisations which have lost operational support have received project grants. As one director commented wryly,  'I’m going to extract your skeleton. Now go and dance for me!' Another said, 'It doesn’t make Queensland look progressive, creative or diverse. People with any vision or ambition will be leaving, taking their enterprise out of this state.'

It is estimated that at least 10 staff across the visual arts may be lost to the sector altogether. There is perhaps too cavalier an attitude in government to this kind of loss for a state that had only recently succeeded in building its cultural profile.


With the triennial funding being announced as a lump sum, precise annual figures are not yet available. However, given the statement in the Arts Minister’s release that, 'The organisations …will use government investment to leverage other funding and grow their business,' it is likely that the cuts will increase over the next three years with the view that alternative financial sources must be developed or responsibility transferred.

Queensland has for some time been complaining that the Australia Council, does not distribute funding equitably and Queensland is missing out.  For a conspiracy theorist the cuts could be seen as calculated to force the Australia Council to pick up sole responsibility for supporting the newly defunded organisations.


Queensland Centre for Photography (QCP), Media Art Asia Pacific (MAAP) and Feral Arts are three which have completely lost their triennial operational support.  A number of other existing triennial clients such as Artisan, the Institute of Modern Art (IMA), and the two regional organisations, KickArts and Umbrella Studios have received cuts of around 25 %. Others like Eyeline magazine, Museum and Gallery Services Queensland (M&GSQ) and Umi Arts have had approximately 10% shaved off while Flying Arts with a regional remit have stayed about even.


Knowing that regional organisations KickArts and Umbrella Studios have experienced sizeable cuts of around 25% (which will mean sacking staff and cutting programs), one has to view with some skepticism what the Arts Minister has said in his media release that, 'Regional Queensland is a big winner, with organisations to be funded including…. KickArts.'

Kick Arts has been focusing considerable energy on trying to generate income through retail sales in their Cairns CoCA shop and through the sales of Djumbunji Press prints. The Government itself acknowledges that Cairns has been hit by a downturn in tourism and KickArts will be feeling this pressure on their business alongside most other tourist related programs in the city. The timing of the funding cut therefore, couldn’t be worse.


Some other decisions also seem counterintuitive. An organisation like Media Art Asia Pacific (MAAP) which has just recently won the prestigious Australian Arts in Asia Award having been nominated in five categories, is one which has lost all its funding. Entirely congruent with the ambition of the ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ policy, over its 15 year history it has produced 7 international media art festivals across Brisbane, Beijing and Singapore, with representation from 14 countries.

MAAP director Kim Machen says that though they have been given $40,000 for the Land, Sea, Sky project, they have lost their core funding of $100,000 and without it, they’ll lose the $50K they get through the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS) managed by the Australia Council. What will now become of their travelling exhibition planned in 2014 for Korea and China?


Queensland Centre for Photography QCP has worked diligently over the last 10 years to build not only a credible organisations but one which flies the flag for Queensland and Australian photographers interstate and overseas. They, like MAAP have been one of the few modestly resourced small to medium organisations which is actually exporting artworks by Queensland artists overseas rather than importing  work for local audiences. Perhaps Edmund Capon in his TV series ‘The Art of Australia’ was wrong in his estimation that Australia has outgrown its cultural cringe.

According to the economist Professor Mark H Moore, who spoke recently at a Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) forum on how arts organisations can measure and articulate the public value of what they do, 'one of the things to consider is how the producing and consuming of art would create a civil and political culture in which one might like to live.’ This must now more than ever become a pressing question for Queenslanders.
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With Tony Abbot in Canberra and Campbell Newman in Brisbane -OMG!

Tony Abbott does not want diversity of funding to support emerging, challenging and progressive art styles and seems to be taking Australia backwards to a bygone era.

Sexism:
‘What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year…’ 
 ”I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.”
“If you want to know who to vote for, I’m the guy with the not bad looking daughters”.

Asylum seekers:
 ”Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”
“I don’t think it’s a very Christian thing to come in by the back door rather than the front door,”

Climate Change:
“Climate change is absolute crap”.

Gays:
 “The existing definition of marriage,”  “I probably feel a bit threatened (by homosexuality), as so many people do.”

Indigenous Australians:
 “There may not be a great job for them but whatever there is, they just have to do it, and if it’s picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done.”

Accountability:
“If I don’t speak they can’t see me and it will all go away”

The WWW:
 Slow, filtered internet.

International Aid:
Planned $4.5-billion cut to the aid budget would hurt some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities, particularly in Africa.

Arts and entertainment:
HELP!
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