‘Distressing’: Arts council sidelines ACT creatives

Share Canberra's trusted news:
Happier days – Roland Peelman conducting a festival finale. Photo: Peter Hislop.

CRAFT ACT and the Canberra International Music Festival have something to crow about, but they’re not crowing.

The two were the only Canberra names among 95 arts organisations across Australia who received news from the Australia Council for the Arts of four-year funding from 2021-2024.

Craft ACT’s Rachael Coghlan.

But while describing herself as “relieved and grateful”, CEO and artistic director of Craft ACT, Rachael Coghlan, said: “Our relief and gratitude is very much tempered by the news that many deserving arts organisations who also invested huge amounts of quality work into their applications missed out on funding from the Australia Council in this round.”

“These organisations play a vital role in the visual arts ecosystem which supports Craft ACT and I am sorry that they are now having to regroup and redirect their funding strategies in uncertain times,” she said.

Director of the International Music Festival, Roland Peelman, had a similar reaction, telling “CityNews”: “We are pleased, but at the same time distressed about all the people who missed out, reflecting an enormous amount of what they are now calling ‘unfunded excellence’.”

But, Peelman, it’s great that the ACT government was offering independent artists up to $10,000 —“it will help a great number of people.”

“Our thoughts are with all the musicians who will be going through a difficult time and of course we don’t know how long this will go on,” he said.

The dismal position for Canberra art organisations was also reflected in the Australia Council’s secondary list of 49 “Four Year Funded Organisations 2017-2020 receiving Transition Funding In 2021”, which included The Canberra Glassworks and Art Monthly Australia.

Transitioning out – Canberra Glassworks. Photo: Lannon-Harley.

On investigation, this list turned out for be in effect a guide to the defunded organisations, which also included Brisbane’s Australasian Dance Collective (formerly Expressions Dance Theatre) the Art Gallery of South Australia, Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art and Australian Theatre for Young People, Melbourne’s La Mama Theatre and WA’s Barking Gecko Theatre Company.

A spokeswoman for the Australia Council told “CityNews” this afternoon that the transitional funding was an extension of funding for those not successful in being refunded for 2021 to 2024. The idea was to allow organisations who were defunded a reduced level of fund (70 per cent of their previous funding) for 12 months from the end of 2020 to the end of 2021 to work out what their strategy coping strategy would be.

On a more positive note, The Australia Council’s CEO Adrian Collette has welcomed today’s commitment by the Australian Government of $27 million in targeted funding to support regional arts, First Nations arts and the music charity Support Act.

Who Can You Trust?

In a world beleaguered by spin and confused messages, there's never been more need for diverse, trustworthy, independent journalism in Canberra.

Who can you trust? Well, for more than 25 years, "CityNews" has proudly been an independent, free, family-owned news magazine, serving the national capital with quality, integrity and authority. Through our weekly magazine and daily through our digital platforms, we constantly and reliably deliver high-quality and diverse opinion, news, arts, socials and lifestyle columns.

If you trust our work online and believe in the power of independent voices, I encourage you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support will be invested back into our journalism so we can continue to provide a valuably different view of what's happening around you and keep citynews.com.au free.

Click here to make your donation and you will be supporting the future of journalism and media diversity in the ACT.

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Previous articleCouncil package to help the community
Next articleCanberra and Orange galleries do a ‘swap’
Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

Leave a Reply