Tuesday, 9 December, 2003

Cultural Ministers Council

Communiqué

  • Senator the Hon Rod Kemp, Minister for the Arts and Sport (Australian Government)
  • The Hon Jim Bacon MHA, Premier and Minister for the Arts and Minister for Tourism, Parks and Heritage (Tasmania)
  • The Hon Bob Carr MP, Premier and Minister for the Arts (New South Wales)
  • The Hon Clare Martin MLA, Chief Minister and Minister for Arts and Museums (Northern Territory)
  • The Hon Mike Rann MP, Premier and Minister for the Arts (South Australia)
  • The Hon Mary Delahunty MLA, Minister for Planning, Arts and Women's Affairs (Victoria)
  • The Hon Matt Foley MP, Minister for Employment, Training and Youth and Minister for the Arts (Queensland)
  • The Hon Sheila McHale MLA, Minister for Community Development, Disability Services, and Culture and the Arts (Western Australia)
  • Mr Bill Wood MLA, Minister for Arts and Heritage (Australian Capital Territory).

Visual arts and craft strategy

Australian, State and Territory Cultural Ministers were today delighted to announce a joint government response to the Contemporary Visual Arts and Craft Inquiry Report (the Myer Report).

Australia's visual artists and craft practitioners make an important social, cultural and economic contribution to the life of the nation-through creative, innovative and experimental activity.

The Visual Arts and Craft Strategy is a comprehensive major new four-year investment by the Australian, State and Territory governments of at least $39 million which is designed to strengthen and sustain Australia's visual arts and craft sector.

Ministers said this unprecedented increase in support would ensure that Australia's visual artists continue to bring creativity and vitality to the life of the nation.

The package is designed to value, foster and promote the creativity, innovation, diversity and excellence of our contemporary visual arts and craft practitioners-allowing them to create more opportunities, to further connect with the Australian public and to engage with international developments.

Ministers thanked Mr Rupert Myer for his comprehensive and insightful Report into the sector.

In this landmark agreement, Australian Government funding of $19.5 million over four years matched dollar-for-dollar by State and Territory Governments will increase funding for Australia's contemporary visual arts and craft sector by at least 33 per cent.

This signifies a new coordinated approach by governments in joining together to provide new funding for Australia's visual arts and craft.

The Visual Arts and Craft Strategy will provide the sector with:

  • a network of stronger and more responsive art and craft organisations
  • an increase in the number of high quality Australian contemporary visual art and craft exhibitions and catalogues
  • new opportunities to tour major contemporary visual art and craft exhibitions
  • increased grant funding for individual artists and craft practitioners
  • increased professional support for Indigenous artists
  • increased support for art and craft publications, to provide opportunities for discussion about individual artists and encourage debate about issues for the sector
  • improved market exposure and sales opportunities for artists and craft practitioners, and
  • greater opportunities for public engagement with visual arts and crafts.

The Visual Arts and Craft Strategy will provide increased funding in four key areas:

  1. Support for infrastructure.
  2. Expanding the market.
  3. Support for individual artists.
  4. Support for Indigenous art and craft.

Support for infrastructure

The Myer Report proposed that 'Australia should ensure that vibrant, strategic, adaptable and sustainable organisations nurture and support Australian contemporary visual artists and craft practitioners in developing their creativity, skills and professionalism, and to exhibit, promote and market their work'. However Myer found 'evidence of fatigue within organisations brought about by inadequate facilities, over-stretched staff and reductions in programming and exhibition activities'.

In response, the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy will provide additional funding for approximately 40 arts and craft organisations across Australia, including national service organisations such as the National Association for the Visual Arts and Craft Australia.

Ministers agreed that this was a top priority, for without robust infrastructure other elements of the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy would not be viable.

Negotiations with selected organisations to develop funding agreements will commence immediately and funding will begin to flow to this part of the sector in early 2004, with total additional funding of more than $5.1 million per annum by 2005–06.

More information, including details of additional organisations to receive new funds, will be released shortly, in joint announcements for each State and Territory.

Expanding the market

Major visual arts and craft events, such as art fairs and touring exhibitions, help make the work of artists and craft practitioners accessible to the public-and in this way build audiences and demand for Australia's contemporary visual arts and craft.

The Visual Arts and Craft Strategy will provide approximately $3 million per annum to 'expanding the market' activities by 2005–06.

These activities will increase opportunities for people to experience visual arts and craft and create opportunities for artists to develop and promote their work.

For example, the Australian Government's Visions of Australia program will be expanded, ensuring that by 2005–06 there will be at least two major touring exhibitions of contemporary Australian art.

Support for individual artists

Ultimately, it is individual artists and craft practitioners who make a vital contribution to Australia's culture, through the creation of works of artistic excellence.

While all four key elements of the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy will create professional opportunities and deliver tangible benefits for individual artists and craft practitioners, individuals stand to benefit directly through increased grant funding. Support will also be extended to some artist-run initiatives.

Increased funding of approximately $2.1 million per annum will flow to this part of the sector by 2005–06.

Support for Indigenous art

Indigenous art is fundamentally important to Australian culture and has been growing strongly in market share and critical recognition for many years. Indigenous art centres are building community capacity, maintaining culture and generating income and employment opportunities in remote communities-whilst also producing some of Australia's most exciting visual art.

Ministers agreed that it is important to recognise and give priority to the role played by Indigenous art centres in this sector.

In response, the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy will establish a new project fund for Indigenous art centres, to be managed by the Australia Council for the Arts. The Initiative will also provide support for peak Indigenous visual arts organisations such as Desart and ANKAAA—the Association of Northern, Kimberly and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists Inc. in the Northern Territory and Ananguku in South Australia.

Support for Indigenous art will rise by $1.8 million per annum by 2005–06.

Monitoring

Ministers have agreed to establish an implementation group, chaired by the Australian Government, comprising representatives of the Australian, State and Territory governments, to monitor specific Australian, State and Territory agreements and report back to the Cultural Ministers Council on progress and achievements.

9 December 2003

 

  • Document ID: 85356
  • Last Updated: 22 June 2011