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Australian Major Performing Arts Group to make way for new unified advocacy body

Australian Major Performing Arts Group to make way for new unified advocacy body
August 3, 2020

The Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG) has advised that it is to cease operation and become part of a new unified advocacy voice for the not-for-profit performing arts sector.

Established in 1999, following the Nugent Inquiry in to the arts, AMPAG was founded to give focus to the newly established major performing arts companies, the issues they share, and to provide a unified voice for its members to the Federal Government.

With the creation of the National Performing Arts Partnership Framework released by the Australia Council at the end of 2019, the sector agreed it was timely to re-imagine the future of arts advocacy. With the current Coronavirus crisis interrupting all aspects of the performing arts, including this process, AMPAG Chair, Mary Jo Capps today advised “the last six months under COVID have proven beyond a doubt the value of a consolidated voice to government.

“During this time, AMPAG Executive Director, Bethwyn Serow, has done an outstanding job, tirelessly working to consolidate the constantly changing data and collaborating with other peak bodies to help inform government decisions and assist the broader performing arts sector.”

Noting how the current crisis has brought the arts together in new and productive partnerships, Capps added “advocacy must be constantly evolving if it is to be effective. The time has now come to make way for a new unified voice reflecting the not-for-profit performing arts sector. It is vital we are able to speak as one regarding the enormous public value delivered by the arts to all Australians.”

The doors of AMPAG will close on 27th September 2020 when Serow finishes her employment.

Capps noted that the AMPAG Board and members are extremely grateful for her commitment and expertise, as well as that of Administrative and Online Co-ordinator Leigh Russell, who finishes with the Group as of tomorrow.

Commenting on the changes, Serow explained “it has been a challenging and enormously rewarding journey to represent the performing arts across a huge range of forums and issues from the philanthropic stimulus and cultural diplomacy to arts education and freedom of expression, drawing on examples and data to reinforce the vital role the arts play in igniting and connecting people, their stories and expression.

“While the work is far from over, and severe COVID hardship is biting the sector, I am pleased that together we have secured some relief and recognition of the connecting and entwined impact of the arts across the economy and within our communities. There is still much potential to tap and I wish my peers, members, broader sector, and the government agencies that work to support them future success.”

Consultation over the past months confirms there is goodwill and great support for developing a differently structured approach to strengthen this united voice.

Discussion around a small number of encouraging options for unified advocacy are underway with AMPAG expecting to make further announcements in the near future.

Main image: Opera Australia perform La Traviata.

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