Briefing paper

Australians engage with a variety of forms of arts and culture (the arts) through a range of mediums. The arts are integral to our individual and community wellbeing and a vital catalyst for positive change and innovation. Ongoing public and private sector support, each through their own means, cultivates a vibrant and a sustainable arts sector benefiting all Australians.

Private sector support for the arts — whether from individuals or business entities — plays an important role in providing a supportive environment in which the arts can thrive. Such support is achieved through giving, investing, partnerships and volunteering. In many areas of the arts, and for many arts organisations, private sector support is essential for providing funding stability.

Creating a culture of private sector support for the arts, which includes developing a culture of giving, investment, partnership and volunteering as well as bringing donors, businesses, artists and arts organisations together is essential. Creative Partnerships Australia — the Australian Government’s primary body for encouraging and facilitating greater private sector support for the arts — proposed and commissioned this paper, which is a product of collaboration between the Bureau of Communications and Arts Research and Creative Partnerships Australia.

This paper is a first step in estimating the size of that support over time using currently available data sourced from the Australia Business Arts Foundation (AbaF, merged with the Australia Council’s Artsupport Australia program in 2013 to form Creative Partnerships Australia), the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG). In doing so, this paper also seeks to identify the scope of private sector support and map this to available data.

The projections outlined in this paper suggest that private sector support for the arts in Australia continues to grow and flourish. However, it also highlights the need for more robust and comprehensive data in this area.

Looking to the future, the collection of ongoing data in a consistent manner and the linking of existing data sets across jurisdictions would enable more reliable and sophisticated analysis and unlock the potential toward greater insights on arts support in Australia.

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