Artspeak: a word from our executive director

Filed : Advocacy .

In this month’s Artspeak enews Tracey talked about advocacy, online networks, artists that fall through the gaps and new funding opportunities.

From Tracey

It is difficult at the moment to discuss anything other than the effects of Covid-19. The arts has been one of the sectors severely impacted: no events, no live theatre, music, festivals or gallery exhibitions.  But people in the arts have always been resourceful, imaginative and resilient, and so people are finding ways of sharing work. One thing that this crisis has highlighted is that people all over the world are turning to the arts to help them through this time.  I have to congratulate the many people in our region who have stepped up to the plate to keep things happening: online shared music watch parties, online exhibitions and so much more.

At Arts OutWest we have been busy. We have been making sure that we share what’s going on in the region and all the ways in which people are finding online responses to the arts.  We have been busy feeding into advocacy to help make sure that the arts sector is appropriately supported throughout this time.  We have been setting up new online networks so that people can connect with others to discuss the arts and share what they are doing. We are working from home but are very busy connecting with each and with other organisations.

The advocacy that we do is often not visible on an everyday basis, but is an important part of our role. There have been some good government outcomes to date: with so many in the arts operating as sole traders we were relieved that they were included in Jobseeker; JobKeeper offers help to some; there have been a range of funding programs responding to Covid-19 opened up including $10million dedicated to regional programs.  But we remain concerned that some in the arts will fall between the gaps. In particular we are aware of the dangers for many in the arts who are employed casually and move from one project to another making them ineligible for some of this support.  We are also aware that councils are the largest employers of cultural staff in the regions but are not covered by Jobkeeper.

We have also been working with the Health sector to find new online ways of delivering interactive arts and music programs to people in hospitals and aged care facilities. There are challenges involved I this, but it is also exciting to explore what may be possible.  There is no denying that these are difficult times, but at Arts OutWest we also excited by the new ways of working that we are exploring, the strength of the connections that we continue to build and the evidence that the arts is a sector that is clearly important to our communities.

– Tracey Callinan, executive director Arts OutWest

IMAGE: Arts OutWest executive director Tracey Callinan (in red jacket) leading an arts funding workshop in Orange in 2019. Photo: Kerry Fragar.

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