Funding Your Art

1622117_10203588843912759_2232670102899058624_nIf you’ve been living under a rock, you won’t know about the cuts to Arts funding in the latest budget. If you aren’t making art, then maybe you don’t care. But you should because even if you aren’t making art, you are enjoying it. All art forms are important for the soul of this beautiful country.

My writer brain doesn’t need too much help with the mathematics of the latest cuts and what they will mean for writers, artists and performers. Not only will it mean that many of the usual grants will not be offered (bad for the artist), it means that the community won’t have the pleasure of seeing new projects come to life (bad for you).

Take a look at the latest cuts to Australia Council grants:

If artists can’t fund their projects, how will they grow and improve on their craft? Imagine the books, paintings, performances that might never see the light of day. We need to realise how important this is for the future of our society in cultural terms.

You might think, So what?

Why is art so important? We need cures for cancer, world poverty and global warming. Yes, we do. But artists tell stories and stories help us to make sense of the world, help us broaden our experience and understanding and allow us to think more creatively, which in turn helps us to discover solutions to problems that need this creative thinking.

The biographer and journalist, Walter Isaacson, said that science can give us empirical facts and try to tie them together with theories, but it’s the humanists and the artists who turn them into narratives with moral, emotional and spiritual meanings: art gives meaning to the theories of science.

Art is also escapism, pleasure and connection with each other.

So what can we do about it? Politics has a lot to do with it, so don’t vote for the wrong people. But it’s also about the community supporting the arts in different ways: buy books (real ones), go to galleries and buy artwork, go to the movies (don’t buy pirate movies in Bali), go to a live theatre performance.

Crowd funding is becoming a fantastic way for people to get their project off the ground. Maybe this is the arts funding of the future?

The community needs to be aware of the importance of making art for the future of our cultural existence. Without it we are dull, non-dimensional beings. We might cure cancer but our world will be colourless.

Space to Write

I have constant stories twirling around in my head. I play with words. Create sentences. I’ll hear something interesting and make a note to myself to remember it for later, when I have time to sit down and write.Unknown

But time is my constant enemy. The demands of life mean that I don’t get time to sit down and write. I know this is not an excuse though. There are many times during the week, when I’m sitting sloth-like in front of the TV. I know that I could be writing. Only problem is that I am brain dead and can’t manage to strings three words together.

In fact, it’s not the time to write that eludes me. I know this because I managed to write a novel last year by getting up half an hour earlier each day. My problem is that I have no space to write. By this I don’t mean physical space. I mean space in my head. It’s crowded up there. All those great bits and pieces that I want to write down are stored up there and possibly irretrievable.

Right now, I am home alone. I cannot pinpoint the last time that I was home alone. I have been doing a happy dance. I have space to think. I have been shuffling around the house for almost two hours, not speaking but thinking. And no one is here to answer me back or make any demands of me. The quiet is almost too loud.

It’s good to be reminded that space and solitude are very important to creativity in this busy world that we live in. That’s why taking a walk, meditation or doing something mindless with your hands can help to clear the mind. I vow to try to make some space for myself and my writing every day. Excuse me while I go do some of that now.

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