News September 4, 2019

Arts sector alarmed over South Australia’s new arts plan

Arts sector alarmed over South Australia’s new arts plan
Image: WOMADelaide

South Australia’s first arts policy since 2000 comes with a lot of positive dialogue about future growth and collaborations.

At the launch of Arts and Culture Plan South Australia 2019-2024, premier Steven Marshall talked of wide-ranging benefits for the 16,000+ workforce in SA’s cultural sector.

For the plan, the government hired former Australia Council CEO Tony Grybowski and strategic consultant Graeme Gherashe, who spoke to 2500 people for input.

The state government maintained, This Arts Plan is about igniting a new level of connectivity – between artists, organisations, institutions and governments – that will inspire bold exploration, innovation, and lead to a vibrant ecology of new relationships and networks.”

The plan consists of four key values – leadership, strategic collaboration, diversity and experimentation – and six goals.

These include embracing new technology and using the internet to get the message out more, a review next year to ensure that current grants are helping independent artists, as well as championing First Nations creatives, encourage more investment in the arts, and more tours to regional areas and more support for their arts scenes.

The vision is to have Adelaide join the “smart city” movement and become more inspired and inspirational, including a new art-focused high school, and making South Australia a centre for tertiary education for the arts

The 45 recommendations also include a new shared ticketing system for small to medium arts organisations, walking tours of the city and looking at a new much-talked-about concert hall for classical and acoustic performances.

See full report here.

The immediate reaction from the sector was that after ten years, the plan could have been more dynamic.

“It’s a disappointing response at the end of a process that raised high hopes,” said shadow arts minister Jayne Stinson.

“Light on substance,” said ArtsHub. “A let-own” dismissed the Advertiser.

Even more the suggestion “to have a stronger focus on diversifying funding sources” set off alarm bells, that it means less government funding.

Last year the Marshall government cut $4.9 million from the 2018-19 arts budget, increasing to $31.9 million over four years, and effectively dismantled ArtsSA.

However, the government has agreed to establish a pilot program of two-year ‘creative fellowships’, adopt Arts Queensland’s investment funding set-up which is return driven and collects funding from a wide range of sources, and also set up an Arts Organisation Collaboration Fund.

Robert Stigwood Fellowships

In the meantime, the government-funded Robert Stigwood Fellowship program announced its recipients in its sixth year.

The five are 16-year old George Alice (just named triple j’s 2019 Unearthed High winner), singer-songwriters Stella and 19-year-old Rory Adams, punk rock duo TOWNS and pop outfit Pinkish Blu.

The five showcase at BIGSOUND today (Wednesday 4) to be live-streamed on the Music Development Office Facebook page at 2pm Adelaide time.

The four Industry Fellows are PR exec Bella Caruso, Electric Fields manager Diana Sautelle, publicist Leigh McGrane and artist manager Jordan Tito.

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