HOT upon calls by the former ACT Chief (and Arts) Minister Jon Stanhope for some serious advocacy in the ACT arts, news has arrived that several ACT and region arts leaders have just formed themselves into a new voice for the arts, “The Childers Group”.
Described as “an independent forum committed to the long-term viability and vitality of the arts in the ACT and surrounding areas” by its Childers Group spokesperson, David Williams, the group argues that “world economies are in flux, governments more than ever are balancing competing policies, and many families are struggling to make ends meet”.
In this mix, they say, are artists, key members of society who “question, illuminate, and delight…we know the arts are vital…but how can we assist them to be more viable?”
How indeed? Placing itself at a distance from government and adopting principles of objectivity and independence, the Childers Group says that it will add to its present membership “as appropriate”.
Though most of the members live and work in the ACT, the group intends to build relationships with the surrounding regions.
According to Prof Williams, the Centenary of Canberra is likely to provide context to the group’s work as first cab off the rank will be a public forum on the arts early in 2012, which he expects to be both “exciting” and “provocative”.
Foundation members of the Childers Group are: Evol McLeod, arts manager and chair of Belconnen Arts Centre; Caroline Stacey, artistic director/CEO of The Street Theatre; Elizabeth Brown, from Southern Tablelands Arts (STARTS); Julie Dyson, the Lewis of Ausdance; Nigel Featherstone, writer and former ACT arts bureaucrat; Anita McIntyre, ceramicist and chair of board at Strathnairn Arts; David Williams, emeritus professor at the ANU and former director of the ANU School of Art; and Allan Sko, managing director of BMA Magazine.
For more information, contact the group’s coordinators, Evol McLeod on 0406 378 889 or Nigel Featherstone on 0428 810 442, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://childersgroup.wordpress.com/