25/05/2020 - 15:48

$1.5m to WA visual artists

25/05/2020 - 15:48

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The Art Gallery of WA Foundation and the gallery's board have announced a $1.5 million package for Western Australian artists represented in the State Art Collection and Aboriginal art centres across the state.

$1.5m to WA visual artists
David Templeman says this is a significant initiative developed by the gallery and the foundation.

The Art Gallery of WA Foundation and the gallery's board have announced a $1.5 million package for Western Australian artists represented in the State Art Collection and Aboriginal art centres across the state.

Around 350 artists represented in the State Art Collection will receive $2,000 to create an online State Art archive with up-to-date archival content, focusing on expanded artists biographies, artist statements and extended insights into artistic practice.

In addition, independent and art centre-based Aboriginal artists will share up to $525,000 through a targeted acquisition program to purchase existing works from up to 15 independent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from 25 Aboriginal art centres.

Culture and Arts Minister David Templeman made the announcement this morning and said this was a significant initiative developed by the gallery and the foundation, that will support Western Australian artists while enriching the State Art Collection.

“The community value of the arts sector is increasingly clear as we connect through music, dance and art in this current time,” Mr Templeman said.

Mr Templeman said he was also in talks with the federal government about using some of the money originally committed to JobKeeper for a specialised package for the creative industries.

AGWA chair Janet Holmes à Court said visual artists in WA were facing an uncertain future due to this pandemic.

“As a State Art Gallery, we wanted to look at how we can best support artists that are treasured by so much of the community so that we can welcome everyone to the gallery in good mental and economic health as the pandemic recovery begins,” Ms Holmes à Court said.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said the announcement was very important and one the foundation should be proud of.

He said travel restrictions had not permitted people to visit Aboriginal art centres and the art centres had not been able to show their works in Perth, significantly reducing their income.

Mr Wyatt said 70 per cent of the money from the acquisitions would go to the artists themselves and 30 per cent to the broader community through the art centres.

“These art centres are vitally important for many remote communities because they really are the community centre and the income centre for those communities,” Mr Wyatt said.

“And they really show Australia the stories of Australia and the stories of Aboriginal art to the rest of the world.”

Chamber of Arts and Culture WA executive director Shelagh Magadza said individual artists had been severely impacted by COVID-19 and it was hard to find targeted packages that reach those people effectively.

“Doing it this way through the state gallery and working with the artists in their collection, I think is a really strong way of reinforcing that particular community and the visual arts,” Ms Magadza told Business News.

“I think it’s a very well-designed initiative.”

Meanwhile, over the weekend Mr Templeman announced the $6.5 million building works at His Majesty’s Theatre were complete, with the reopening of the café on Saturday.

The works include a new orchestra pit lift, new acoustic treatments, a more spacious box office, an entrance on the corner of King and Hay Streets, a new staircase from Hay Street, universally accessible toilets and the spaces dedicated to the Museum of Performing Arts have been renovated to include a bar. 

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