Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

Queensland artists hope for $10m creative boost

Girl with Owls by Sarah Hickey, image courtesy of Sarah Hickey.

Girl with Owls by Sarah Hickey. (Image courtesy of Sarah Hickey)

Many Queensland artists are excited about Labor’s arts policy to invest $10 million into 150 creative projects around Australia.

Over the next five years, the funding will also support young and emerging artists and help create new Australian work from all mediums.

Brisbane photographer Kelly Hussey-Smith says the arts are a powerful vehicle for communication and a valuable investment for the Australian community.

“Artists are not only people who sit in a studio and paint, but they’re also the people who write shows on television that we watch, write books we read on the weekend, and create images that appear on our sidewalks,” she said.

Annual $80,000 grants

The Australia Council will be distributing grants of up to $80,000 per annum for projects, including visual art, performing art, literature, music and new media.

Brisbane visual artist Sarah Hickey says these grants can be a significant contributor to the success of an artist.

“It can be a difficult lifestyle choice in terms of material security, especially when you’re just starting out and need the time and support to produce the work,” she said.

“The more an artist is nurtured and supported in those very important first stages of experimentation and play, the more they’re likely to grow and develop into successful, financially solvent arts practitioners.”

Geisha Girl with Butterfly Clips by Sarah Hickey, image courtesy of Sarah Hickey.

Geisha Girl with Butterfly Clips by Sarah Hickey. (Image courtesy of Sarah Hickey)

International market

Funding is also expected to raise the profile of Australian artists in the international market, by giving artists new opportunities to present work to broader audiences.

Ms Hussey-Smith will be exhibiting her work at the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China next month.

“We’re quite isolated in Australia, so any government funding will allow us to build our profile overseas,” she said.

“They buy a creative person out-of-work for a year and make it possible for them to travel, make new connections and establish a name for themselves.”

Overall, the policy will support artists in building more sustainable careers, but Ms Hickey also says it will help nourish a wealth of artistic development over the years to come.

“This can only inform and enrich the next generation of Australian artists,” she said.