A Culturally Ambitious Nation

A Culturally Ambitious Nation_Australia CouncilThe Australia Council has released a bold vision for the arts which will see artists creating more new and daring work, expanded audiences here and abroad captivated by Australian art, and greater recognition that the arts enrich everyday life.

The Australia Council has launched its five-year Strategic Plan and new grants model at the Sydney Opera House. The Attorney General and Minister for the Arts, Senator the Honourable George Brandis QC and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop MP were joined by more than 250 people from across Australia’s arts sector as well as many more via a national live stream.

Australia Council Chair Rupert Myer AM said the plan expressed the Council’s aspirations for Australia’s cultural ambitions which can only be realised in partnership with artists, government, organisations and the diverse communities of our nation.

“This plan reflects our ambition to make more visible the vitality of our arts and culture, and to recognise the evolving way that Australians make and experience art, from galleries, theatres and studios to dry river beds, beaches and virtual spaces,” Mr Myer said.

Informed by sustained dialogue with the sector the Strategic Plan articulates the Australia Council’s role as the national arts agency to champion and invest in Australian arts.

The Strategic Plan articulates four priority areas for the Council over the next five years:

  • Australian arts are without borders
  • Australia is known for its great art and artists
  • The arts enrich daily life for all
  • Australians cherish Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and cultures

The goals are driven by principles of exploration, reciprocity and expansion, of excellence, diversity and experimentation, and of access, leveraging and enrichment.

Australia Council Chief Executive Tony Grybowski outlined the first of a number of initiatives which will see the goals come to fruition. As part of a new international arts strategy the Council will establish a world-wide network of arts managers and partners that can be accessed by Australian artists and organisations.

Every Australian should be able to experience the transformative power of art, no matter where they live. The Cultural Places program will support the creation and presentation of new work, with an emphasis on community participation in regional areas.

More Australians than ever before appreciate the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture, but too few of them have the opportunity to experience them. The Significant Works initiative will support the development of multi-art form works of scale by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and organisations.

Strategic investment to support artists and organisations is fundamental to the work of the Australia Council. Also announced today was the Council’s new grants model, which will be more flexible and responsive to changing artistic practice and the evolving needs of the sector. From January 2015 artists will find it simpler and easier to apply for funding towards the creation of excellent work and a wide range of arts activity.

Over the coming weeks the Council will be in conversation with the arts community about our new strategy. Further initiatives will be announced in the months that follow. For more information on the Strategic Plan go to: 2015.australiacouncil.gov.au for details.

Image: courtesy of the Australia Council