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Australia Council’s annual report shows impact of ‘modest investments in arts and creativity’

Australia Council’s annual report shows impact of ‘modest investments in arts and creativity’
October 18, 2019

The Australia Council’s newly released annual report shows how its investment in the arts in 2018/19 supported the creation of more than 9,500 new Australian works and compelling arts experiences that reached more than 22 million people across the globe.

Tabled in Federal Parliament this week, the Australia Council’s latest Annual Report 2018/19 shows, according to Chair Sam Walsh, the immense impact of relatively modest investments in arts and creativity.

Walsh explained "as a society, I believe we must afford far greater recognition to the value of the arts and creativity. There is enormous public value generated through the arts for the whole of civil society - the arts contribute significantly across our nation’s health, education, industry, global affairs and more."

The report includes case studies that illustrate the impact of Council’s support and the immense public value it delivers. These include, among others, the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair which provides economic value by driving regional tourism and employment; and Counting and Cracking, a theatre work by Belvoir and Co-Curious, that delivers immense cultural value, speaking to the power of great art to create a genuinely inclusive cultural landscape.

The annual report also shares stories about arts organisations that are finding new ways to engage and enrich the Australian public.

One such example is the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s work with virtual reality providing a totally immersive orchestral experience for older South Australians in community centres, enabling them to reconnect with their love of music.

Australia Council Chief Executive Adrian Collette said this was the final report under the Council’s strategic plan A Culturally Ambitious Nation.

Acknowledging the individual artists, arts organisations and arts workers who provide such immense value to the nation, as well as the audiences, philanthropists and supporters who work with the Council to ensure that value is carried into the future, Collette stated "as we look to the future, I see an increasingly powerful role for the arts and creativity in this nation in igniting our social, cultural and economic success.”

Australia Council 2018/19 highlights:

• In 2018/19 it invested in arts experiences that reached 22.6 million people across the globe and cultivated creativity and innovation, supporting the creation of more than 9,500 new Australian works. 
• Four Year Funded Organisations presented almost 1,000 world premieres of new Australian works and Major Performing Arts companies employed almost 10,000 people.
• It strengthened international partnerships and Australia’s soft power capabilities through support for more than 3,300 arts activities in 55 countries. It saw audiences increase by 58% in Asia where the Australia Council increased its strategic investment to support Australian artists’ engagement and success. 
• It illustrates the impact of Council’s support and the immense public value it delivers through a range of case studies. These include: 
   o The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair which provides economic value by driving regional tourism and employment. A highlight of the tourism calendar, it engages visitors with First Nations culture through ethical art while supporting local jobs and economies.


   o Somebody’s Daughter Theatre delivers social value by working with some of the most vulnerable and powerless in our society, providing pathways back into education and community for women in prison. Their No More Hiding in Silence video clip shares these women’s voices and experiences and speaks out against domestic violence.
   o Counting and Cracking by Belvoir and Co-Curious is a work that delivers immense cultural value, speaking to the power of great art to create a genuinely inclusive cultural landscape. An epic work, it tells an Australian–Sri-Lankan story across generations. 10 years in the making, Counting and Cracking was the hot ticket show of 2019 and won seven Helpmann Awards.
• The annual report also shares stories about ways arts organisations are finding new ways to engage and enrich Australian audiences and the public. These stories include: 
   o The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s work with virtual reality to provide a totally immersive orchestral experience to older South Australians in community centres, enabling them to reconnect with their love of music through VR. 
   o Red Room Poetry’s project which published school children’s poetry on buses. Public programs by the Red Room reached an estimated audience of 3.8 million in 2018.
   o Back to Back Theatre is expanding the company’s reach through digital platforms including film and TV. This new strand of work could have long-term multiplier effects for the company and for the audiences who witness this outstanding work by artists with disability on screen.

Click here to view the full annual report.

Images: Valueing the Arts - the Australia Council’s latest Annual Report   Adrian Collette (middle) and the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (below).

Related Articles

11th October 2019 - Australia’s Cultural Ministers agree to new framework for the performing arts

15th September 2019 - Study shows local government behind more than a quarter of Australia’s arts and cultural investment

14th September 2019 - No Government commitments to back new South Australian Arts and Culture Plan

31st August 2019 - Australia Council’s new vision for the arts anticipates limited growth

15th August 2019 - New initiative set to create a more inclusive Arts Sector

15th July 2019 - 23 live performance winners honoured at completion of 2019 Helpmann Awards

22nd March 2019 - Tina Arena and Mario D’Orazio appointed to Australia Council board

1st November 2018 - Australia Council’s year in review highlights why arts matter

16th October 2018 - Recognition for marketing through adversity secures Award win for Australia Council

12th October 2018 - Australia Council announces new Chief Executive

24th September 2018 - Australia Council backs arts and disability with significant new funding

4th May 2018 - Philanthropist Sam Walsh announced as new Chair for Australia Council Board

17th November 2017 - Private sector support for the performing arts grows to record levels

12th September 2017 - Australia Council provides $6.1 million for arts projects

20th July 2016 - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair draws record crowd

21st May 2015 - Australia Council begins cuts to programs following the Federal Budget

6th October 2012 - Major performing arts companies are robust and well-managed


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