I found out quite a few interesting facts at a forum on Arts and Culture hosted by the Brisbane Powerhouse and the Queensland Chamber for Arts and Culture (QCAC). After Uncle Bob Anderson welcomed us Kris Stewart who is the Artistic Director of the Powerhouse set the scene. Queensland art organisations receive 12.5% of federal funding, if this money was allocated according to Queensland's contribution to federal coffers the amount would be higher than 20%. This funding split has remained consistent under successive government of various political persuasions. Having been on the grants treadmill while volunteering at Lines in the Sand I now see why my associates thought it was naive of me to try for an Australian Council grant. There are so many arts organisations assiduously working on grant applications to various government bodies and philanthropic trusts. These can take months to collate and often result in rejection. It's an art in itself to interpret how to write a potentially successful submission. Generally speaking the Australian population recognises the value of arts and culture in creating a vibrant, thoughtful society. Sometimes though it is easier to think of other places as artistic centres, like Paris. Though according to Kris, Brisbane has a bigger population than Paris - this was very surprising to me, because Brisbane has always been cast as a big country town it's easy to forget the growth we've had.
We recently had a Japanese exchange student to stay which gave us the opportunity to treat Brisbane as a tourist destination. The two art institutes we visited were the Queensland Art Gallery and the Museum of Brisbane. Immediately impressive with their accompanying architecture the content of the exhibits never disappoints. The Member for Brisbane Trevor Jones talked about his commitment to the arts outlining the collaborative approach he's making with his fellow Queensland parliamentarians and other levels of government. Mitch Fifield Minister for Communication and the Arts outlined the current federal funding structure. He was interested to hear how Queensland art organisations would prioritise funding and what structure this could be. The consensus seemed to be to prioritise First Peoples, Youth and arts access for people with disability. One of my favourite suggestions came from Sally Pitkin (Opera Queensland) for a position of Chief Artist with similar gravitas to a Chief Scientist. Both politicians urged those present to band together so we could speak with one voice. This was reinforced by Katherine Hoepper who directed us to join the QCAC. It was brilliant to witness these passionate representatives of Queensland arts and culture sharing their stories of funding hardship, innovation and collaboration.