This graph is a breakdown of Australia Council arts funding last year by artform. Despite recent scare campaigns that have suggested that Australia was somehow in the throes of doing away with the “heritage arts” in favour of “new media” there doesn’t appear to be much evidence of it in the numbers! Right click “view image” to see the graph at full size.
The lime green figures are the allocations to the various artform boards of the Australia Council. These are the competitive boards that Australian artists can apply to for grants from the Australia Council to make new works. The purple figures are a breakdown of the “Major Performing Arts Board” funding by artform.
As you can see there is still massive discrepancy between the amounts of money that go into the major performing arts and how much goes into everything else combined.
My favourite little factoid: Opera Australia last year received more funding from the Australia Council than all the applicants for all 6 of the Australia Council’s major artform boards combined. Opera Australia alone received $18.3 million. By contrast the Australia Council’s entire competitive funds for literature ($4.2m), music ($3.6m), theatre ($2.5m), dance ($1.8m) visual arts ($4.8m) and inter-arts or cross artform projects ($0.8m) combined totaled just $17.6 million. That’s one opera company receiving more than seven hundred and eighty one separate projects, organisations and individuals competitively funded across all those forms.
And the new media funding that is apparently all the rage if you believe the scare campaigns? Opera Australia’s budget could power the the “inter-arts” office for the next 23 years — there’s a pretty good chance new media will be heritage itself by then. Even if you add in the $386,000 from the positive but spread rather thinly “Arts in the digital era strategy” that reduces to about 16 years.
Seriously, next time someone suggests [as Richard Mills did in this essay commissioned and published by the Australia Council] that we are flirting with getting rid of the “old” to make way for the “new” laugh in their faces and point them to this graph.
[Some notes for the pedantic: I have used the figures from the Australia Council's online database of funding recipients. You can interrogate the database for yourself here. All the figures above are based on the last financial year (1 July 09 - 30th June 2010) and compare the Australia Council's artform board allocations to that of Major Performing Arts Fund. It does not include Key Organisations funding ($14.2m across all artforms), Arts Development ($5.7m - mostly for marketing across all artforms), or ArtStart ($2.5m - not categorised by artform). It's a usefully indicative breakdown but if you really want to interrogate the numbers look at the database yourself]
This post, including the graph is published under a creative commons license. You are free to reproduce and adapt it on your own site or publication with attribution.
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Tags: 2009 · 2010 · Arts Funding · ArtStart · australia council · Australian arts · dance · hertage arts debate · literatrure · music · National Cultural Policy · Opera · orchestras · theatre · visual arts38 Comments