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Report of the Contemporary Visual Arts and Craft Inquiry

October 17, 200517 October 2005

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After commissioning separate reports into the major performing arts sector and small and medium sized performing arts organizations, the Australian government has now received the report of this major inquiry into the contemporary visual arts and crafts. The inquiry was mandated “to scope the sector, examine its cultural and economic contribution, and make recommendations on key issues impacting on the future sustainability, development and promotion of the sector as a whole.” The inquiry finds challenges in Australia’s arts and crafts sector that appear to be quite similar to those in Canada, including the need for fewer “economic uncertainties” for artists, higher status within their communities, more opportunities to sell and exhibit their art, and increased capacity among organizations in the sector. With these issues in mind, the inquiry makes 20 recommendations to the Australian federal government, 12 of which involve increased government funding. In total, the inquiry recommends a $15 million (or about 40%) increase in funding to the sector by all levels of Australian government. These “strategically directed” financial investments would be complemented by changes in copyright, taxation, and philanthropic contributions, as well as increased availability of equipment and new technology. In addition, the inquiry recommends the implementation of a “resale royalty arrangement”, whereby artists would benefit from the appreciation in value of their works by receiving income from the resale of their art. The inquiry also calls for more collaborative and coordinated arrangements between arts funding agencies at the various levels of government, “including tripartite funding arrangements in respect of their joint support of key infrastructure organisations”. This is another Australian report that gives Canadian readers a lot to consider.

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