The political agenda of recent times has been significantly influenced by minority parties holding majority influences to account. Some for good and some not admittedly. But nevertheless it has forced major parties to step up to the negotiating table and bargain and properly debate positions and policies. It has become increasingly apparent that neither major nor minor parties in Australia hold strong interests in supporting artistic industries. Whether they be artists who work with paint or sculpture (that we immediately and inaccurately limit “Art” to), or artists involved in trades such as film, journalism, architecture, music, web design, photo retouching, hair dressing, baristas (have your looked at the top of your coffee lately) , cooking, personal training (sculpting bodies), fashion design, illustration, authors, directors, acting, photography, singing, prop and wardrobe design, dancers, acrobatics, model building, etc. Art is multifaceted but surprisingly marginalised, politically and socially, except when we want someone to perform these services. Something many of us do the moment we listen to music or a film or a “good” photo or a web page on our smart phones and still manage to relegate our daily occupation with Art to being the production of that weird group of creatives who’s education was largely derived from the disparaged “Arts Degree“. Politically disparaged with their funding in free fall (often so tied up in red tape as to be obstructing rather than encouraging), with their trades being reduced (journalists and photographers losing jobs at papers) it has become apparent to some, it is time to fight back. And to do so, in the political arena.
Enter The Arts Party! The radical idea of two gentlemen who are artists currently employed by that epicenter of underfunded and politically disparaged organisations, the ABC. One an actor and the other a journalist, Nicholas Gledhill and Patrick Collins respectively, they have instigated the commencement of a crowd funding platform, to both fund and gain the numbers to legally register this political Party.
In the interests of transparency and disclosure of conflicts of interest, I am personally involved in film, multimedia and graphic design concerns. ( as if the rest of my web site didn’t clue you into that). It became immediately apparent to me that an Arts Party could front so many concerns, not only of my industry, but multiple other artistic industries under threat from entrenched bureaucracy , political and social indifference, poor profiles, reduced work opportunities and under funding. The policies of this party are admittedly still under construction and it is early days. What they need now is your support so the party can be registered. $20 per person/artist and your name and address is not a big ask for what it can potentially do for the currently politically unsupported Arts community. Less than what I sometimes pay for Lunch at a cafe in Newtown. What they will need later, is your input into policy and direction for the Party (as of course after reading this you will be joining up). The interesting reality is, that as I write this, they have a third of the numbers support for federal registration but interestingly already half the money required, as Artists seeing the value of this, are committing more money than they are being asked for. So I am not alone in recognising the value of this. (And yes, I did contribute more than was asked.)
The Arts party has already acquired interests from small publications such as “The Inner City Weekender” from the 1st of November [Page 10] (image from that replicated here) and Metro Screen [http://metroscreen.org.au/arts-party-campaign-passes-45-funded-in-7-days/] . The Arts News portal has created an article of support for the Party too at:
[http://www.artnewsportal.com.au/art-news/the-australian-arts-party] so interest is growing.
Besides the Indiegogo crowd funding page there is of course a Facebook page [https://www.facebook.com/TheArtsParty] and it’s own dedicated page at [http://www.theartsparty.org]. All these exist to help you make an appraisal of this new venture. I would encourage you to consider signing up with a hope to seeing a bright and supported future for the Arts in Australia.
Post Turnbull Appendum:
Since Tony Abbott’s eviction, the Arts portfolio is yet again shared with other portfolios and still has not been given a singular advocate. While Brandis has moved on, the policies of the party have not. Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield has become Minister for Communications AND the Minister for the Arts. Still this minister has not found the time to draw up a policy for the Arts at the Federal level because one presumes he is busy with the mess the previous communications minister left behind him with the more expensively growing NBN policy and implementation. Aside from keeping Indigenous artistry and languages alive, the policies of cutting or dividing up funding for the Arts has continued uninterrupted. The Arts Party in the meantime is not only registered but put up a candidate in Joe Hockey’s old seat and attracted 2% of the vote for a first time candidate, Lou Pollard, (a local Clown Doctor) in a party most people hadn’t even heard of in North Sydney.