Tackle that learning curve
The recently re-named Australia Business Arts Foundation (AbaF) enthusiastically embraced by the Prime Minister Mr Howard, and headed up by the dynamic Winsome McCaughey, is holding training workshops around the country to help cultural organisations better understand the business case approach to partnerships and to trial a draft Guide to this enterprise. AbaF says that both arts and business are ignorant of how they can be of benefit to each other and certain arts units would benefit by intensive training in how to approach this challenge. OK when do we start?
Corporations can be quite creative in finding ways to say no to requests for arts sponsorship. An extraordinary press release arrived a while back from a company called STELCO calling for other companies to boycott funding requests for the Blighted Paradise exhibition being curated for the Rockhampton Art Gallery in November 2001, describing the exhibition's name as "offensive". The Managing Director Andrew Hestelow is quoted as asking "Am I the only Aussie MD sick and tired of sponsorship requests from politically correct wankathons?" He asked curator Lisa Loader for an explanation of the name and she replied: "... the exhibition title reflects the 18th and 19th century experience of Australia as one in which the country was not the 'paradise' anticipated, and that settlement in some instance 'blighted' the environment..." Mr Hestelow replied "... Nonsense! Since when do they send convicts to paradise for punishment? How dare you and your cocooned cohorts second-guess the pioneers who built this great nation? The Queensland Government, and Rockhampton Council, should put funding commitments on hold until the exhibition's name is changed. Maybe then PC trendoids will get the message that if you want to backstab Australia, you can bloody well pay for it yourself."
Why Mr Hestelow assumes that the exhibition is about penal colonies, when it is clearly about white settlement in north Queensland remains a mystery. STELCO, with an address in Artarmon, Sydney, is apparently an importer and distributor and it is assumed they saw the call for business sponsorship on the Blighted Paradise website. Rockhampton Gallery is not taking any notice of this attack of the jingoes but Artrave hopes that Mr Hestelow's attitudes to scholarly analysis of history through art are not reflected in the wider business world otherwise it will be heavy going for the AbaF.
Mini GST rollback
Many arts organisations are having to abruptly shove into reverse some of the procedures they had so painfully put in place to collect GST on their 'supplies'. A recent Tax Office ruling allows many of these supplies to be GST-free, due to the fact that they are subsidised. For Artlink it means that we no longer have to charge GST on our subscriptions or any sales direct from us to the consumer. However GST will still be collected (for the time being anyway) on copies sold in retail outlets.
More, less? bigger, smaller?
The long-standing Art in Public Places (APP) program within Arts SA has been under review over the past few months with a series of 12 focus groups conducted by senior members of the University of South Australia in which 80 people participated, followed by a report-back meeting in early September. The consensus was that the program should not be devolved away from government unless a really viable alternative can be found; that a percent for art policy should be adopted in SA; that there should be more money spent on a smaller number of more ambitious projects, avoiding a plethora of under-funded poor quality outcomes; that there should be more time and money put into advocacy and education and the leadership role adopted by government should be strengthened and developed so that more partnerships across all areas (local government, private sector and regional and community groups) could be fostered. The Report is to go to the Minister for the Arts, Diana Laidlaw.
Squabbling over tourist $
Some dealers in Aboriginal art were outraged by a warning in a Dept of Fair Trading leaflet produced for visitors to the Sydney Olympics. It said "Look for the Label of Authenticity when buying indigenous artefacts. A visit to Australia is not really complete without taking home an item produced by one of our talented Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists. But avoid fakes. Make sure this label is attached to the item." The recently launched NIAAA Label of Authenticity was reproduced alongside.
According to the statement by Jinta Desert Art only 2% of dealers use the Label as it is in its infancy and people are still working out how to use it. Many dealers are supplied directly by well known art and craft centres and therefore authenticity should be guaranteed. The prospect of all that foreign currency going begging for the lack of a swing tag must have been too much to bear.
Shortly after the protest, ATSIC issued a statement asking the government to take a strong position on ethical trading in Indigenous cultural material, suggesting that special (sui generis) legislation is needed to protect intellectual property currently not covered by the Copyright Act, such as communal ownership, intangible cultural heritage and the right to protection in perpetuity. ATSIC's tacit support for the leaflet and for the Label (which it helped to establish) supported the decision of the Dept of Fair Trading not to withdraw and reprint the leaflet, though they acknowledged that it could have been better worded. Given the long history of shameless rip-offs which continues more or less unabated throughout the industry a little fair warning was probably warranted even if ethical dealers were tarred with the same brush.
More arts business
" New alliance Since art schools turned into university departments and the arts morphed into academia, some more enterprising artists have turned their eyes towards the Australian Research Council for funding. Recognising that there is potential duplication of resources and that the arts risk being forced into a model of research which does not match the reality of practice, the ARC and the Australia Council for the Arts have decided to work together to support funding for research in the creative arts.
" NAVA is calling for feedback on its draft Code of Practice which can be downloaded free from its web site www.visualarts.net.au/nava. Artists and others involved professionally in the visual arts need to check this document over as when complete it will become the standard national reference for best practice models in areas such as sales and galleries, public art commissioning, residencies, prizes and more.
" Dramatic Online is a new web service for arts and cultural industry workers. It offers a range of attractions: an e-commerce facility for small players who cannot justify their own site; an online news service purportedly Australia's first dedicated to arts workers; a positions vacant and work wanted bulletin, and over 2,000 relevant links. Also, to tempt you to subscribe, they are offering a free email service like Hotmail called myartsmail.com. Check it out at www.dramaticonline.com.
" Capital Art is an interesting new art marketing enterprise. It is an online dealership which sells limited edition prints on a secure e-commerce site on behalf of artists or in conjunction their galleries (some of whom are members of the Australian Commercial Galleries' Association). Check out the service on www.capitalart.com
" Each year ARCO the contemporary art fair in Madrid selects a different country for special attention. In 2002 it will be Australia, and commissioner Paul Greenaway has been collaborating with the Australia Council to put our best foot forward. Around 30 Australian galleries will be assisted to participate and art publications will be featured, as well as a program of lectures and forums. As a run up to this event five Australian galleries will be attending in 2001: Roslyn Oxley9, Sarah Cottier, (Sydney) Anna Schwartz, (Melb) Goddard de Fiddes (Perth) and Greenaway Art Gallery (Adelaide) and Artlink is coordinating a group of five Australian art magazines at ARCO 2001 February 14 - 19, in preparation for a larger presence in 2002.
Births and rebirths
" Melbourne Museum has reopened to an eager public who flocked in to inspect Stage 1 of the new displays open so far in the extraordinary building in Carlton Gardens designed by Denton Corker Marshall are Bunjilanka (the Aboriginal Centre), the Australia Gallery (home of Phar Lap) and the living Forest Gallery. The rest of the redevelopment will be open by March 2001.
" The Geelong Gallery recently opened Stage 1 of its Centenary of Federation $2m building upgrade with the launch of a loan exhibition of Colonial and Impressionist paintings in two refurbished galleries drawn chiefly from the National Gallery of Victoria collection.
" The Asia-Australia Arts Centre opened in October in the recently refurbished historic 1895 Corporation Building at 181-7 Hay St, Sydney with an exhibition of Malaysian artist Wong Hoy Cheong and Australian Rea. The Centre is operated by the Asian Australian Artists Association, and will run a range of exhibitions, screenings, workshops etc.
" axé (pronounced "ah-shay") is a new gallery of black and Hispanic art from around the world. It will specialise in limited edition works on paper, African carvings, artifacts, and photographs. 128 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Vic.
" Redcliffe City Art Gallery has opened its doors at 470 - 476 Oxley Ave, Redcliffe, Qld. giving a home to the city's art collection which started in 1957.
" The Ian Potter Foundation has granted $15m to the National Gallery of Victoria to help its major refurbishment into 2002. The Atrium and the Gallery of Australian Art at Federation Square is to be named The Ian Potter Centre NGV: Australian Art. Sir Ian Potter was a major benefactor to the arts in Victoria during his lifetime, and the Potter Foundation continues to generously support the visual arts.
" Four new purpose-built studios in Haig Park, in inner-city Northbridge, Perth, were launched in October in a joint initiative between the Artists Foundation of WA and City Housing, a subsidised housing association. Of the 19 units in the $2m complex four were allocated to artists who were selected on the basis of the quality of their work, and their eligibility for low-cost housing. Northbridge is due for major redevelopment soon and this alliance may help retain some traditional low-rent residents in the mix.
" Fragility & Endurance: textiles by Jan Irvine-Nealie is an exhibition of works developed and created by the artist during a 3-month residency at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery's Gorge Cottage in 1996. The sojourn in Launceston allowed field research time for her to respond to Tasmania and the Museum's Macquarie House where the studio was set up, and she also gave lectures and workshops for others working in quilted textiles. One of Australia's most accomplished textile artists, her work has been shown in Europe, Japan, and the USA and is held in many collections. Fragility and Endurance refers to both the tenacity and vulnerability of the Tasmanian environment. On show at the QVMAG until 11 February 2001.
" Prison Art: The Maitland Gaol in NSW has ambitions to become a centre for the visual arts. It staged an exhibition in October of the work of inmates of the Cessnock Correctional Centre with the aim of exploiting the artistic talents of prisoners as a strategy towards making the transition between being inside and eventual freedom a more optimistic one.
" Kathie Massey is the new Executive Director of Arts SA replacing Tim O'Loughlin.
" Amy Barrett-Lennard is the new Director of Linden Gallery in St Kilda.
" Margaret Anderson is the new Director of the History Trust of SA replacing the long-serving, high-achieving Dr Peter Cahalan who has moved to the SA Tourism Commission as Manager of Interpretive Programs.
" Gregory Gilmour is the new Head of the Furniture Design Studio at the JamFactory in Adelaide.
" Julianne Pierce is the new Director of ANAT, the Australian Network for Art & Technology.
" Interface Solutions: connecting project teams with artists to achieve the triple bottom line will be of interest to a wide range of people in the urban design and public art arena. Organised by ArtSource with the City of Mandurah, case studies which demonstrate the effectiveness of including artists on all kinds of project teams include the Solid Waste Management Facility of Phoenix Arizona, and Canon Research. 9 - 11 May 2001 Mandurah, WA (near Perth) for details ph (08) 9535 2876, fax (08) 9582 7664, firstname.lastname@example.org
" the Edge of Reality - Australian International Documentary Conference is the 7th annual conference, with four days of talks, screening, networking and videotheque in Perth 6 - 9 March 2001. More info from Richard Sowada, director, ph 08 9220 2930, fax 08 9220 2939, email@example.com.
" National Regional Galleries Summit will be held in Mildura to coincide with Palimpsest from 17 - 20 April 2001. Contact Global Arts Projects on firstname.lastname@example.org
" Traditions and transitions: folk narrative in the contemporary world is the 13th Congress of the International Society for Folk Narrative Research. Papers will connect traditional narrative with broader issues such as race, gender, cultural difference etc. University of Melbourne 16 - 20 July 2001. Details from email@example.com, fax (03) 9417 4684, write to PO Box 1765 Collingwood, Vic 3066.
" Lecture: The Hon Paul Keating will speak at the first of a series of seminars on the future of cities New Urban Domains being presented by the Goethe Institut to support its concurrent exhibition Potsdamer Platz - an Urban Experiment in Central Berlin. 23 January 2001 at 6.30 pm Barnet Long Room, Customs House, 31 Alfred St Sydney.
" Geelong Contemporary Art Prize of $15,000 - John Young with his painting The inner guide.
" 2000 City of Perth Art Award for Excellence of $12,000 (acquisitive) - Linda van der Merwe (WA) for City Farm.
" 2000 Conrad Jupiters Art Award (acquisitive) and the inaugural 2000 Josephine Ulrick and Wyn Schubert Painting Prize of $10,0000 - Megan Walch (Tas) for Alias 1
" The Gerda Pinter Award - Simon Cuthbert (Tas) for Artifice #3
" This year's $20,000 National Indigenous Heritage Art Award - Wolpa Wanambi from Yirrkala, NT, for her work Yanawal and the People's Choice for $1,000 jointly by Lance Atkinson and Walter Magilton for Duhungala Dreaming.
" The Fleurieu Prize for landscape at $50,000, the highest in money terms in Australia - Elisabeth Cummings for Near Halls Creek. Ms Cummings was designated in the press release as an artist from New South Whales. Which just about sums up an exhibition where the work was so badly hung (on the ends of wine barrels in Hardy's winery, McLaren Vale) that it might possibly have looked worse than it actually was. Whales could possibly have made a better fist of it.
" 2001 Samstag Scholars are Christine Collins, Shaun Gladwell, Glenys Hodgeman, Anne Kay, Fassih Keiso, Linda Marrinon, Archie Moore, Rea, John Spiteri and Paul White. They are funded for a year's art study at an overseas university. The Samstag scholarships, Australia's most coveted award for graduates, are run from the South Australian School of Art.
" The Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo, Sydney, has won the Dibner Award, a worldwide competition run by the Society for the History of Technology, for its exhibition Universal machine: computers and connections.
" 25th Annual Shell Fremantle Print Award (acquisitive) - $5,000 jointly to Bede Tungutalum for Mutungkala and Chips Mackinolty/Therese Ritchie for Rebuild East Timor.
" Royalties: Australian artists whose works have appeared in film and TV programs have recently been paid a total of $360,000 in royalties in a distribution of moneys by VISCOPY via its sister organisation Screenrights. Yet another reason to join VISCOPY now! (It's free)
" Griffith University has added to its art collection with a series of new public art commissions by Nola Farman (WA), Rick Roser and Mona Ryder (Qld). All the works can be seen at the new Logan campus south of Brisbane.
" Two monumental abstract white marble sculptures 6.7m high standing on bases clad with brightly coloured mosaic tiles The Guardians, by Simon Rigg were unveiled in November at Melbourne's Southgate precinct near the Crown Casino, the commissioning body.
" The UK company Visiting Arts has published arts directories to 30 countries, overviews of the art scene packed with detail averaging 300 pages each. New directories just out are for Taiwan, Vietnam and Québec. Details from firstname.lastname@example.org or fax 44 20 7389 3019.
" The long-awaited Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture is just out and at around 1000 pages, 300 contributors a third of whom are Indigenous, 400 illustrations, subject index, maps, and anthologised texts by leading figures such as Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Sally Morgan, it will take some time for joint editors Dr Sylvia Kleinert and Margo Neale to find out how it will be received in both the scholarly and rest of the world. Published by Oxford University Press, RRP$99.95
" Upcoming Artlink themes 2001
March: water, weather, islands, oceans, rivers, global warming, pollution etc. June: childhood, children in art, art by children, the state of childhood.