CANBERRA has always been famous for its arts demos and this Wednesday the Canberra Arts Action Group is organising a big one outside the ACT Legislative Assembly.
Members of the Australian Dance Party, Rebus Theatre and Art Song Canberra will stage a protest performance to demonstrate the vibrancy and creativity of the city and the community which are currently compromised without a flourishing local arts sector.
The background is that in December last year the ACT Government made unannounced cuts to the Project Fund component of the ACT Arts Fund, meaning that only 14 arts projects were funded in 2017, compared to over 60 in previous years.
This represented an unprecedented 66 per cent drop in dollar-funding for Canberra Arts projects.
Happily, in response to a letter co-signed by over 160 of Canberra’s leading artists, the incoming Arts Minister Gordon Ramsay announced that an additional $230,000 of funding would be distributed for 2017 Projects.
But, the reality is that the total amount of Project Funding in 2017 is only 65 per cent of what it had been in previous years, so the arts sector has come together to form the Canberra Arts Action Group.
The plan is to ensure that this cut is reversed in the 2017-18 Budget, and that ACT Labor’s election commitment to increase Project Funding by $500,000 per year is met.
The group is also calling for greater transparency and consultation with the ACT Arts Community and to that end, a five-point petition that will be put to the Legislative Assembly calling for this change.
As leading singer and former Canberra Artist of the Year, Louise Page, who will take part in the demo, puts it: “Canberra has always been a city that values art and artists, in all they do to enrich the Canberra region and community.”
The petition can be found at canberraplusarts.com, and closes on April 21. The demonstration will take place outside the ACT Legislative Assembly this Wednesday, March 29 at 12.30pm.