16/04/2008 - 22:00

Developing the arts

16/04/2008 - 22:00

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Self-development will be one of the core topics brought forward at this weekend’s 2020 Summit by some of Western Australia’s arts delegates, who say the arts industry is about more than just building more centres.

Developing the arts

Self-development will be one of the core topics brought forward at this weekend’s 2020 Summit by some of Western Australia’s arts delegates, who say the arts industry is about more than just building more centres.

Perth International Arts Festival artistic director Shelagh Magadza said her focus would be on the professional development, or the soft infrastructure, of artists and organisations.

“While it’s easy to invest in art centres and bricks and mortar, there isn’t enough clarity or a structural soundness around the soft infrastructure, which is to do with professional development and company stability,” Ms Magadza said.

The call resonates with West Australian Symphony Orchestra executive manager artistic planning, Marshall McGuire, who added that artists need sustainable career paths in order to become better performers.

In addition, Mr McGuire said a broad-based national approach to performing arts courses in primary and secondary schools was needed, with special attention needed towards specialised training for arts teachers.

“This promotes greater skills, greater understanding, and greater opportunity to develop truly creative individuals,” he said.

Also at the grass roots level is the need to have a creatively literate community, according to University of Western Australia senior deputy vice-chancellor, Professor Margaret Seares.

“We need the same level of engagement for our young people as happens with sport: junior clubs, then senior, then grade, then state, then national,” Professor Seares said.

“We need to feel comfortable being either participants or viewers/audiences for creative activities as we are with sporting activities.”

The sporting arena could also be utilised, according to artist Matthew Lutton, who believes cross promotion of the two industries will provide more diversity for people living in the city.

Closer to Mr Lutton’s heart is the need to promote Australian contemporary arts on the world stage.

“I think we’re quite good at promoting our indigenous work overseas, but the really new work, the contemporary work, that doesn’t have that flavour,” Mr Lutton said.

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