Art funding probe here

The Senate Committee visited Perth to hear from local artists and arts organisations to examine the impact of the last two federal budgets on the arts community including the creation of the National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA).

Under the proposed format, the NPEA will allocate over $100 million of arts funding over four years � funding previously distributed by the Australia Council for the Arts.

The Senate Committee received 2200 submissions about the impact the NPEA will have on local arts scenes.

While funding for major performing arts groups was guaranteed prior to the changes in the May budget, the main concerns in the arts community are smaller arts organisations and local artists.

Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company general manager Peter Kift made a presentation to the inquiry about the funding shift.

�It is going to create instability in the small-to-medium arts sector which Yirra Yaakin is a part of,� Mr Kift said.

He said there was also concern in the arts community about the move to project-based funding rather than funding for organisations.

�When you�re trying to build up the capacity of an organisation you need a strong financial base,� he said.

�If you�re jumping from project to project you�re spending half the time seeking funds rather than getting on with the job of actually producing art.�

Mr Kift said many groups were uncertain about their future and artists may miss out on fellowships and artist residencies.

�With the new NPEA there is a concern that beyond 2016 we don�t know if we�ll get funding,� he said.

�Many other emerging small to medium companies won�t be able to plan that far ahead.�

Chamber of Arts and Commerce executive director Henry Boston will present to the inquiry on behalf of the not-for-profit arts organisation.

Mr Boston said Perth�s small-to-medium arts groups and individual artists were most at risk under the new scheme.

�It has already been made clear that individual artists won�t be eligible to apply for funding through the NPEA,� Mr Boston said.

He added the decision to remove the funding from the Australia Council for the Arts was made without policy framework or consultation with the arts sector.