The Australia Council for the Arts will spend an extra $3 million over the next three years on four new programs to support Indigenous arts across Australia and overseas.
The four initiatives will target export and employment opportunities, philanthropic investment and intellectual property protection for Indigenous artists. The initiatives will complement the moves by the Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator Rod Kemp, to combat the exploitation of Indigenous artists.
Chair of the Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander board, Dr Chris Sarra, said the programs were a strategic investment in the future of Indigenous arts.
‘We are focused on pursuing sustainable growth for Indigenous arts – growth that provides more support and profile for the unique stories being told by talented Indigenous artists across the country.
‘We’ve identified four key areas where the Australia Council can make a difference for artists on the ground through an international showcase of our best works, an arts employment scheme, a strategy to increase giving to Indigenous arts and intellectual property protection,’ Dr Sarra said.
The four programs include:
- Showcasing the Best: an international strategy aimed at profiling high quality art abroad, in particular through leveraging international opportunities such as the Musee du quai Branly project in Paris and Undergrowth – Australian Arts UK, and the Festival of Pacific Arts (Oceania)
- Indigenous philanthropy: a program, managed by Artsupport Australia, to increase philanthropic giving and private support to Indigenous arts, including the appointment of an NT-based area specialist
- Artists in Work: a strategy to boost Indigenous employment in the arts through traineeships, scholarships, employer incentives and general positions in the arts sector
- The Other Side of the Coin: a strategy (announced last week) that aims to protect Indigenous cultural and intellectual property.
Jennifer Bott, Australia Council for the Arts chief executive officer, said these new programs were further reflections of the Australia Council’s reorganisation last year.
‘The combination of fresh, big picture thinking, closer collaboration between internal players, and partnerships with external stakeholders — the hallmarks of our new approach — is delivering much-needed resources and proactive investment in the arts across Australia,’ she said.
The Minister for the Arts, Senator Rod Kemp, has highlighted the Australian Government’s commitment to strengthening the arts as a key element of Indigenous cultural, social and economic development.
‘These initiatives will help address the issue of exploitation of Indigenous artists by creating better outcomes for Indigenous artists and the Australian arts industry. I am pleased that the Australia Council for the Arts is working with other agencies of the Australian Government to help combat the exploitation of Indigenous artists.’