Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thoughts on funding…

What would happen if State and Federal Governments reduce funding of the arts, including art's education, to a large extent? This scenario is increasingly likely with the current regimes.

Such a loss of funding could potentially create bourgeois practitioners and consumers. By making it harder on both financial and logistical levels for people to study and practice, only the wealthy will be able to afford the 'luxury' of a formal art's education. The reduction in subsidies will also increase ticket prices, excluding many from attending events or gaining access to cultural institutions.

On a positive note, an untrained generation of artists might develop, creating work potentially critical of any distortions in the industrial complex. This would essentially be a de-gentrification of the arts with the status quo being a likely target. It would drive innovation through a process of differentiation. While difficult, especially for artists outside the mainstream, it might prove more fruitful culturally.

This could potentially lead to a further division of creative communities with 'high' and 'low' art being more clearly separated.

On the opposite side of the coin, what would happen if State and Federal Governments dramatically increased funding to the arts, including something akin to a 'Arts for the Dole' scheme?

Having greater access to events through more affordable tickets and the presentation of high quality exhibitions that might otherwise be financially problematic would increase levels of aesthetic and cultural literacy.

Increased funding would allow artists to turn away from the distorting outcomes-based system, to experiment more, take greater risks and explore themes otherwise deemed too sensitive for funding bodies.

This system is more open to exploitation so some form of peer-reviewed qualification system would need to be established. Such a system could be problematic in that having a qualification from an institution does not necessarily equate to someone being a practicing artist.

Regional and otherwise challenged artists would also be unfairly disadvantaged by such systems.

To qualify for the French 'artists unemployment insurance system', an artist or technician must work for 507 hours in 10.5 months to gain benefits for the down-time periods between projects. This popular but politically problematic system is financed by employers and workers' contributions.

A time-based system is difficult in that how do independent artists quantify such things as non-paid studio time? Maintaining such things as log-books, already broadly accepted by the ATO as evidence of activity, might be a avenue.

** Just an open thread for thoughts. **

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