Arts bodies decry ‘one of poorest funding rounds in history’

In the previous round, 23 projects worth $886,341 were funded for a success rate of 17 per cent.  In  2016, 41 projects were funded to the value of $1.5 million giving a success rate of 27 per cent.

”In terms of arts policy, project funding is where the adventurous risk-taking is and where you need to invest with courage,” Anatolitis said.

”It’s more than surprising, it’s shocking and deeply concerning that only six projects were supported. These are the only project rounds proposing to develop exciting new work for risk-taking audiences. Think of the size of NSW.”

Round two of the Create NSW Arts and Cultural Projects program opened in October 2017 and closed in December.

Announcements were due in April with projects to start in May but were delayed. Peak arts bodies were concerned the delay would make it difficult for successful applicants to tour their works regionally.

Successful projects were announced in the past few weeks. Anatolitis said very few if any of the successful NSW works would be able to tour to NSW professional venues

Create NSW said it had received a very high volume of applications which skewed the results and delayed assessment.

A second funding round had been introduced in the 2017-18 financial year and more than $1.1 million had been directed to 29 recipients over this entire 12 month period. This was a reduction on $1.5 million delivered in 2016/17 financial year.

”As always, supported projects were determined by the strength of their applications against the available budget, and priority areas,” the department said in a statement.

Of the six applications recommended for funding, four came from Sydney, one from western Sydney, and one from regional NSW.

The successful applicants were:

  • Marrugeku ($60,000) for a new trans-Indigenous dance theatre
    work jointly commissioned by Centre Tjibaou, Nouméa and Carriageworks, Sydney.
  • The Corridor Project ($55,000) for a multi art-form event that interweaves four significant local histories in Canowindra.
  • Ensemble Theatre ($60,0000) will produce its first production featuring the story of
    an Indigenous man, with an Indigenous director and performers.
  • Blue Mountains City Council ($25,789) for a series of public programs celebrating 2018 NAIDOC in conjunction with the exhibition John South: Skyworld, exploring Aboriginal
    astronomy through cross-disciplinary programs.
  • Lingalayam Dance Company ($45,240) for an interdisciplinary dance theatre work about the mythological significance of serpents in Australian Indigenous and Indian culture.
  • Harriet Body ($10,000) for an exhibition looking at collaborative art practices between artists living with and without intellectual and developmental disability or complex needs
    across Australia.

The Casula Powerhouse, FBI Radio, Artspace, the Seymour Centre, Monkey Baa Theatre Company
Museum of Contemporary Art and Music NSW were among the organisations that protested the tiny grant round.

”There were 216 projects that were not funded,” Ms Anatolitis said. ”When you think of the workload of that: it takes project teams weeks if not months to work on applications and that kind of unproductive labour is so counterproductive. It’s quite heartbreaking.”

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