Tag Archives: arts

Cuts To Arts Funding

In the recent Government Budget here in Australia, there is a controversy about the allocation of funds to an independent body, The Australian Council For The Arts. Part of the money, approximately 20%, is being taken and given to a new government body, controlled by the Minister for the Arts. Over the next four years, the money given to the arts is also being cut back.

It has raised the ire of arts bodies and artists, and rightly so; government controlled arts funding is akin to propaganda.

I am not a recipient of an arts grant, nor have I been one in the past. I may apply for one in the future.

In times of economic stress, the arts are one of the first to be cut back. 

I think for a lot of tax payers, the idea of paying for artistic people to paint, sculpt, develop plays, musicals or operas, is throwing money into a big dark hole to be buried forever and seeing no return on investment. I’ve seen in the mainstream media, editorials decrying the ‘waste of money’ given to a public piece of art. 

Art is seen as subsidiary to earning an income as opposed to seeing art as a way to earn an income. I see it in attitudes towards music, art, woodwork and the like. It is not seen as a serious career choice. At its best it is a hobby, a crafty interest, a sideline pursuit, something done on weekends or once a weeknight.

I want my taxes to be made available for public services: roads, education, health and hospitals, public transport AND the arts.

What I think needs to happen is for the conversation to be on the role and purpose of the arts in our society. People consume art: film, music, books as the basics but are not aware of the time and effort required to create it. 

We need to have the conversation about the value of art, what it contributes to society and culture, not just in monetary terms, but also in terms of its spirituality, ethos, mentally and emotionally. 

We need to have the conversation to demonstrate the need for the arts to be understood as an integral aspect of our society.

The arts are not a respite for those with mental or physical disabilities. Nor are the arts the domain of the ‘tortured artist.’ The arts are the domain of all; we should all be creating, all contributing, while allowing for those who want to pursue it as a career to make that choice freely and boldly.

We need to have this conversation for art’s sake.

Making Money from Creativity


The discussion regarding Amanda Palmer’s choice to ask for musicians to donate their time and talents to her recent tour has elicited a wide ranging discussion about the arts, labour and payment for services.

For Amanda Palmer’s own words, drop in here: http://www.amandapalmer.net/blog/20120914/

For commentary go here: http://kotaku.com/5943112/amanda-palmer-asks-musicians-to-play-for-free-pisses-off-musicians

and here: http://overland.org.au/blogs/lfmg/2012/10/art-is-a-labour-issue-part-1-wages/

and a recent post from Amanda in response to the lengthy discourse, to understand where she is coming from and what she is doing about it: http://www.amandapalmer.net/blog/20120919/

Click your linky way around the threads of argument. Well worth your time. I am not intending to pour fuel onto sparking match heads, but simply help raise some questions for creative people to think about.

There is no single way of doing things; flame wars and vitriolic comments achieve nothing. Discussion, when informed by reading and research, is the preferred method we should all follow.

Disclaimer done. On with my perspective.

The breadth of the argument can be divided into two lines of thinking:

  1. It is about an artist’s choice to volunteer their time and talents.
  2. It is about an artist’s choice to receive payment for services rendered.

Within the artistic community, I am sure there are times when people will volunteer their time and talents for free, while at other times they will opt for payment for services rendered.

It is still the artist’s choice, but I think there is something else behind it, and it stems from those who are perhaps not within the artistic community. I am a firm believer that each individual can, and should be creative, in whatever media is appropriate.

But those from outside the artistic community see art not as an occupation, but as a hobby, a pastime, something to fill in the lazy Saturday afternoons. Art is considered a fringe activity, not a focal point of a person’s existence.

The arts should never be considered a fringe activity of society; it should be embraced as the heart, soul and mind of society. Just as science, philosophy, religion, capitalism are other aspects that make up our society and community, so too is the artistic circle. These different paradigms give meaning to the individual, a way of seeing and understanding the world around them.

Art (writing, painting, film making, theatre, performance poetry etc) is not play, it’s work. It’s fun work, but work nonetheless.

And work requires recompense. Art can be monetised, as with any occupation. It is worth someone’s financial investment whether it’s a painting, a novel, CD, film.

While some people become teachers, nurses, train drivers, others pursue artistic endeavours as their work, their life style and primary source of income.

Creative arts will always be about an individual’s expression and definition of themselves as some define themselves by their occupation as a designer, IT programmer or business owner.

How do you support the arts?