Not for profit: Call for boost to arts funding

19/12/2007 - 22:00

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Premier Alan Carpenter has called on the corporate sector to lift its contribution to the Western Australian arts sector, after unveiling a $73 million arts funding package to reinvigorate the state’s cultural landscape.

Not for profit: Call for boost to arts funding

Premier Alan Carpenter has called on the corporate sector to lift its contribution to the Western Australian arts sector, after unveiling a $73 million arts funding package to reinvigorate the state’s cultural landscape.

 

The package, which is the largest single funding injection into the arts in the state’s history, commits funding to a wide range of organisations and industries, including the visual arts, ballet, symphony, sculpture, film and television.

 

Included in the package are a number of initiatives to stimulate greater involvement in the arts by the WA business community, encouraging businesses to partner with arts organisations or to increase their funding to the arts.

 

A major recipient of the funding is the Art Gallery of WA, which is in line to receive up to $15 million for a special acquisition fund.

 

If the first $10 million, allocated for the 2008-09 financial year, is matched dollar for dollar by the corporate sector, the state will contribute an additional $5 million, with the potential to reach $30 million by 2010.

 

This represents a significant increase on the government’s current contribution to the gallery’s acquisition fund, which stands at $250,000 per year.

 

Other new programs designed to encourage corporate or individual contributions to the arts include the $350,000 Philanthropy Incentive Program and the WA Premier’s Arts Partnership Fund, which will inject $150,000 over the three years to encourage businesses to partner with WA arts organisations.

 

Mr Carpenter said the state’s strong economic standing gave it the opportunity to invest in building the state’s cultural lifestyle.

 

“I believe the cultural potential of WA is just as exciting, if not more exciting, than its raw economic potential,” he said.

 

Australia Business Arts Foundation WA manager Henry Boston said there had been a significant increase in business contributions to the arts during the past four to five years, with the resources sector playing a major role.

 

But there were sectors he believed were benefiting from the boom that were not giving back to the community in the form of arts sponsorships, the engineering and retail sectors among them.

 

“While the resources sector has been notable for increased investment, there are other sectors of business that would appear to be reaping the benefits of the boom but their return to the community by investing in the arts and culture sector is limited,” Mr Boston said.

 

He said the government’s initiatives, particularly the Premier’s Arts Partnership Fund, would give small to medium sized businesses an opportunity to lift their involvement with the arts. “There are a number of large companies who contribute a considerable amount, but there is a great opportunity for small to medium business sectors to be engaged.”

 

“[The Premier’s Arts Partnership Fund] is a very good way of engaging people who have never been engaged before.”

 

Association of Western Australian Art Galleries chairman and director of Gallery East, David Forrest, said that while there had been some good examples of corporate funding and sponsorship programs, it could be taken a lot further.

 

He said the funding injection was “terrific news and long overdue”, but there was a still a lot of work to be done on the almost 30-year-old gallery.

 

“The revitalisation of the art gallery of WA is absolutely crucial,” Mr Forrest said.“It’s the only [gallery] in Australia that hasn’t had a total makeover in recent years.”

 

The funding package will also aid some of WA’s arts facilities, including the State Library and the Perth Concert Hall, which will have the opportunity to share in $12 million for capital upgrades.

 

Other major recipients include the ballet and symphony, which will benefit from up to $8 million in funding to stage more performances.

 

Regional arts will receive a 30 per cent funding increase for grant and touring programs, with $5.6 million committed to supporting arts initiatives in regional areas.

 

Two new awards were also introduced – the $1.1 million Indigenous Art Award, recognising individual artists and groups, and the $1.2 million Premier’s Australia-Asia Literary Award.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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