If 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.