Friday, May 13, 2016

How to run a national culture - an A to Z

Devastating day of reckoning for Australian arts as 62 organisations miss out on crucial operational funding.  
Australian artists have faced many desperate moments over the past three years, particularly in the last 12 months following the 2015/16 Federal Budget announcement last May, which revealed devastating cuts to the funds distributed by the Australia Council. However, Friday the 13th of May 2016 is now a day that will be remembered in infamy by many as one of the blackest in Australia’s artistic history. Published this morning, the Australia Council have announced the list of 128 fortunate recipients of the highly sought after four-year funding grants. However, many unsuccessful applicants, including 62 organisations previously funded by the Australia Council, are now facing uncertain futures as their operational costs are no longer underwritten.  

Limelight Magazine - Black Friday: Australia Council cuts defund dozens of arts companies

A - artists, the people who make art. They are the most important people of all. A also stands for audiences, but no-one gives a shit about them.

B - bureaucrats, who deliver money to the artists. Everyone loves bureaucrats! Until....

C - cuts to funding happen periodically, but only when evil Coalition governments are in power.

D - despair. It's natural to feel disappointed when your funding source has been cut, but artists, being more important than other people, have much more important feelings: hence, despair.

E - economy, something that doesn't exist and even if it does it's not important anyway and even if it is important it certainly doesn't justify the cuts to funding to the arts, and even if it does it's not important, because emotions.

F - fighting amongst themselves, a fun practice which artists indulge in in these economically-straightened times when they discover their artist friends have got money but they haven't.

F - forms, which artists have to fill out a lot of if they want to have a chance to get funding.

G - gloom, a side-effect of despair (see above).

H - horror, another side effect of despair (see above).

I - independent, something that all artistic organisations lay claim to. Some have been independent for several decades, although strangely independence is only ever possible by being dependent on government for money.

I - institution, icon - things which every artistic group is, especially when its funding is in danger.

J - jobs, jobs, jobs. What some artists lose in the cuts to funding.

K - knitting jumpers for lamp-posts, one of the many important works of art which has previously attracted funding.

L - latte, the traditional food stuff of the artist.

M - minorities, groups which artists often discover they are members of when they are filling out forms.

N - nation, the thing that culture does stuff to, much like a culture does stuff to milk to turn it into a delicious yoghurt, although with less curds, and with more conceptual installations and interpretative dance pieces.

O - opera, something some artists love, most artists complain about, but very few go to. It is usually unaffected by the funding cuts.

P - protests, which at some point someone will organise.

P - paradigms, things that artists shift a lot in their artistic works. No-one has seen a paradigm in the wild, so no-one is quite sure what they look like.

P - politicians, who are ultimately responsible for all the funding.

Q - questions raised, something that important art does, although presumably, it does somewhat less of it now because of the cuts to funding.

R - regions, places which artists care about a lot, although they seldom visit them unless there's funding involved.

S - schmoozing, a helpful thing to do when applying for funding, and which makes it all the more annoying when that funding gets cut.

T - taxpayers, the people who make money, only to have some of it taken off them by politicians with a variety of dubious justifications and spent on art that they don't necessarily want anyway.

U - unemployment, the unfortunate side effect of funding cuts (and of running an artistic organisation for decades without somehow preparing yourself for the day when the funding gets cut).

U - urban areas, the exciting places artists like to hang about in.

V - voluntary support of the arts, a ridiculous thing that artists rightly dismiss, because who wants to make art that people want to pay money to see?

W - whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy? A cry of despair uttered by artists when they hear about funding cuts.

X - xenophobia, what artists are fighting against. They're not sure how to link it to the present politicians and the cuts to funding, but they will find a way.

Y - yartz, the - term of contempt for, or endearment with, the arts, depending on whether you are an artist or a lowly taxpayer.

Z - Zzzz, the instinctive response of many non-artists when they see these arguments.

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