May 29, 2017
Cuts to arts funding at all levels of government will be one of the key issues debated at a regional arts forum to be held in the South Burnett later this year.
South Burnett artist Robyn Dower, who has sat on the Regional Arts Development Fund committee for the past two years, said declining funding for arts-related activities was a key motivation.
“In less than five years we’ve gone from being the region that ran Tractor Tattoo, generated hundreds of thousands of dollars of publicity for the South Burnett and won a Queensland Regional Arts and Culture Award to one that scratches about to find just $15,000 a year in arts funding,” Robyn said.
“Somehow, all levels of government seem to have decided that when times are tough, slashing support for the arts is an easy soft target.”
Robyn is currently gathering letters of support to hold an arts forum for South Burnett artists and craft workers later this year.
“The forum would include all art forms from the visual arts and crafts to the performing arts, writing and music,” Robyn said.
“I believe it is important we take the necessary steps to make sure we are not forgotten in light of budget cuts to the arts across the board.”
Robyn hopes the forum can highlight the issues artists currently face in the South Burnett.
She also hopes the forum will generate ideas about what steps the region’s art community could take to improve public perception of the value of the arts within the community.
Artists will be able to offer feedback and Robyn hopes the information gained from the event will be able to be used to offer more forums and workshops, as well as facilitate some action.
Guest speakers will be invited to talk at the event, and networking opportunities will be also available which could help some artists kick-start their projects.
“There is no easy fix and it certainly won’t happen overnight, but we do need to start now,” Robyn said.
“So whether you are an arts group, an individual or anyone else who would like to see the arts improve in the South Burnett, emailing me letters of support for a regional arts forum would be greatly appreciated.
“Without them, we stand no chance of making a difference, because no-one will listen if we don’t make a sound.”
Robyn can be contacted by phone on (07) 4168-5577 or 0427-592-074.
Letters of support can be sent by email, preferably by July 31.