Arts sec­tor fears for fu­ture fund­ing

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By KATE LEAVER

THE fu­ture of lo­cal art, theatre and cul­tural events is un­cer­tain as the Se­nate In­quiry into Fed­eral Arts Fund­ing pre­pares to hold a public hear­ing in Perth to­day.

The Se­nate Com­mit­tee is vis­it­ing Perth to hear from lo­cal artists and arts or­gan­i­sa­tions to ex­am­ine the im­pact of the last two fed­eral bud­gets on the arts com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing the cre­ation of the Na­tional Pro­gram for Ex­cel­lence in the Arts (NPEA).

Un­der the pro­posed for­mat, the NPEA will al­lo­cate more than $100 mil­lion of arts fund­ing over four years – fund­ing pre­vi­ously dis­trib­uted by the Aus­tralia Coun­cil for the Arts.

The Se­nate Com­mit­tee has re­ceived 2200 sub­mis­sions about the im­pact the NPEA will have on lo­cal arts scenes.

While fund­ing for ma­jor per­form­ing arts groups was guar­an­teed be­fore the changes in the May bud­get, the main con­cerns in the arts com­mu­nity are for smaller arts or­gan­i­sa­tions and lo­cal artists.

Yirra Yaakin Theatre Com­pany gen­eral man­ager Peter Kift will make a pre­sen­ta­tion to the in­quiry about the fund­ing shift.

“It is go­ing to cre­ate in­sta­bil­ity in the small to medium arts sec­tor which Yirra Yaakin is a part of,” Mr Kift said.

He said there was also con­cern in the arts com­mu­nity about the move to pro­ject-based fund­ing rather than fund­ing for or­gan­i­sa­tions.

“When you’re try­ing to build up the ca­pac­ity of an or­gan­i­sa­tion you need a strong fi­nan­cial base,” Mr Kift said.

“If you’re jump­ing from pro­ject to pro­ject, you’re spend­ing half the time seek­ing funds rather than get­ting on with the job of ac­tu­ally pro­duc­ing art.”

Mr Kift said many groups were un­cer­tain about their fu­ture and artists may miss out on fel­low­ships and artist res­i­den­cies.

Cham­ber of Arts and Com­merce ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Henry Bos­ton will present to the in­quiry on be­half of the not-for-profit arts or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Mr Bos­ton said the de­ci­sion to re­move the fund­ing from the Aus­tralia Coun­cil for the Arts was made with­out a pol­icy frame­work or con­sul­ta­tion with the arts sec­tor.

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