THE NEED FOR VISION: our response to the draft ACT Arts Policy Framework

31 Mar

The recently released draft ACT Arts Policy Framework supersedes Arts Canberra: Action Statement for the Arts 2006-2008 and, we assume, related documents such as the ACT Action Statement for Public Art (May 2007).

The draft document proposes four goals together with brief dot-points indicating how these goals will be achieved.  The stated goals are to:

  1. increase community access and participation;
  2. support artistic excellence and artistic diversity;
  3. strengthen capacity of the arts to contribute to social and economic outcomes; and
  4. foster artistic innovation, creative thinking and sustainability.

The Childers Group appreciates the development of the draft ACT Arts Policy Framework and that it has been made available for public comment.

However, the Group believes the final Arts Policy Framework should be one that befits the capacity of the sector: it should be confident about its purpose and how it will contribute to arts development, and it should have a clearly articulate vision that energises arts activity, particularly in the context of the Centenary of Canberra.

More specifically, the Childers Group advocates for an arts policy framework that:

  • establishes the principles that will guide arts/cultural priorities and programs;
  • acknowledges the strengths of the sector, and the challenges ahead;
  • contains bold ideas for the future;
  • strongly advocates the importance of access and participation in the arts and the value of the arts and cultural life in our community;
  • promotes the notion of the intrinsic value of the arts while seeking to involve and engage with a wider constituency for mutual benefit;
  • makes a commitment to support for artists who are taking risks with new and innovative arts practice;
  • places emphasis on a whole-of-Government approach to policies and programs designed to support arts and cultural development;
  • includes a public art commissioning program (or the percent-for-art scheme);
  • develops stronger links and relationships with ACT Tourism and related agencies and the national cultural institutions to create opportunities for the arts;
  • indicates a time-frame for the life of the policy;
  • acknowledges that leadership in setting appropriate payments to artists and arts workers is crucial to arts viability and a sustainable future;
  • recognises that festivals, feature events, celebrations and other special anniversaries represent important opportunities for arts and cultural development;
  • supports arts opportunities available by developing co-operative arrangements with the University, College and School education sector, heritage facilities and services;
  • promotes the benefits of private support and working arrangements with the corporate sector both in terms of projects, commissions, sponsorship and philanthropy;
  • builds on relationships with the surrounding regional communities;
  • is committed to supporting key arts organisations, which are central to the vibrancy and life of our city and the region;
  • is written in clear and active language to maximise communication and effectiveness.

The Childers Group sees the 2010 Review of the Arts in Canberra (Loxton Report) and other relevant national documents, including the 2011 National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper, the Forward Plan for Contemporary Australian Art (Sept 2010) and the Dance Plan 2012, as useful references in preparing a policy for arts.

The Group would welcome the opportunity to contribute to the further development of the ACT Arts Policy Framework.

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artsACT’s closing date for comment on the ACT Arts Policy Framework is 10 April 2012.

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