Stage set for talks

Whither the arts in WA? Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company’s Irma Woods, Kyle Morrison, Ebony McGuire and Kelton Pell.  Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au   d442299
Whither the arts in WA? Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company’s Irma Woods, Kyle Morrison, Ebony McGuire and Kelton Pell. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au d442299

The Senate Committee is visiting 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 more than $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 before the changes in the May budget, the main concerns within the arts community is smaller arts organisations and local artists.

Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company general manager Peter Kift, who will be speaking at the inquiry, said: �It is going create instability in the small-to-medium arts sector which Yirra Yaakin is a part of.�

He said there was also concern 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,� Mr Kift 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 Culture executive director Henry Boston will speak on behalf of the not-for-profit arts organisation.