Australia needs an ambitious arts policy that invests in artistic courage. This means:
- Putting First Nations first: on the ongoing advice of Elders and artists, fund the National Indigenous Arts & Cultural Authority ambitiously, implement the Uluru Statement, and action the Fake Art Harms Culture recommendations
- Making fair pay at industry standards a condition of public funding, so that all funded organisations can meet their responsibility. As Chair of the Australia Council Sam Walsh AO said at the 2019 Australia Council Awards: “Our artists should be celebrated – and they should be remunerated accordingly.”
- Investing ambitiously in artists’ time, artists’ leadership and artist self-organisation – NAVA advocates for three new funds:
- Artist Time: Recognising that finding the time is crucial to creating work, a new program for mid-career artists of ten $100,000 fellowships per year, including dedicated mentorship and professional development
- Artist Led: As contemporary artists push artform boundaries beyond visual arts, craft and design to public art, fashion, games and experimentation, this $1.5m fund fosters collaborations with any organisation – both within and beyond the arts
- Artist Run: Supporting artist self-organisation projects whose working models are led by artists, a new $2.5m multi-year funding program for operating costs and artists’ fees, encouraging the best new thinking to emerge.
- Increasing the Australia Council’s funding by at least $25m per year to catch up on cuts since 2014, support ‘unfunded excellence’, and lead significant sector development initiatives and vital artist programs such as these
- Committing to the integrity of independently peer-assessed arts funding as a clear expression of confidence in the expertise of Australia’s artists
- Replacing the Major Performing Arts Framework with an Artistic Investment Framework that includes the Visual Arts & Crafts Strategy in long-term indexed investment
- Prioritising initiatives that promote artist self-organisation, strengthened communities and a vibrant independent arts sector
- Advancing copyright reform that enables artists to earn incomes from our intellectual property without threat from ‘content’-trading tech giants
- and there’s plenty more to be done in superannuation reform, tax incentives, a Guaranteed Annual Income scheme, ensuring all arts grants and major art prizes become tax free.