Arts SA executive director Peter Louca dismissed by SA government
Arts South Australia’s executive director Peter Louca has been dismissed by the state Liberal government after almost three years in the role.
The official reason from the dept. of premier and cabinet (DPC) given to the Adelaide Advertiser is an independent review done for the government’s vision for the arts.
Existing required savings targets – along with the need for organisational efficiencies and reform – have led to the decision, departmental acting CEO Erma Ranieri said.
However, the arts sector isn’t buying it.
Louca has long been allied with Labor, running for the seat of mayor in 1996 (and lost to Alexander Downer) and ministerial advisor and chief of staff for Labor for 13 years – including the last arts minister Jack Snelling.
The belief is that the dismissal was more to do with the current Marshall government, which took power in March, purging all Labor appointees.
The arts sector is worried the state government’s budget next month might see arts funding being slashed.
Since taking over the role in September 2015, Louca has introduced some well-received initiatives
After the slashing of the federal budget by then-arts minister George Brandis, he helped the small to middle arts groups that were hard hit.
“Festivals and arts are embedded in our DNA as South Australians,” he said at the time.
“It’s part of what makes us a bit different from other places around the country and the world. It’s something we do very well but we often take it for granted.”
A lasting legacy of his will be Made in Adelaide, which acts as a marketing banner and artistic and networking hub at the Edinburgh Fringe, as well as a marker for international tourism and visits by artists from the northern hemisphere .
He introduced it in 2016 and followed up with enough financial funding for the acts.
This year has 22 acts selection from all artforms including rock music.
Louca’s vision was also for Adelaide to be the Asia Pacific hub for performing arts.
Starting out working as an eight-year-old in his parents’ fish and chips store, he was the first in his family to go to university where he became involved in student politics while studying the arts.