Arts sector fears for future funding
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.