Fears of ‘cultural isolation’

Mandurah Performing Arts Centre general manager Max Boyce. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au   d442906
Mandurah Performing Arts Centre general manager Max Boyce. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au d442906

The Senate Committee will visit 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.

The 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 within the arts community are for smaller arts organisations and local artists.

Mandurah Performing Arts Centre general manager Max Boyce, who intends to attend the inquiry, said the decision to divert funding from the Australia Council budget to Arts Ministry coffers meant the small to medium arts sector would be starved of funds and, in turn, regional audiences and regional artists would suffer.

�What it means is that the range and diversity of what we can offer at MPAC will suffer,�� he said.

�It�s the work created by independent artists and small to medium arts organisations that move the art forms along, that challenge and can really reach through to audiences.

�This is the work that is directly threatened through these changes to the arts funding landscape.

�The likely beneficiaries, we believe, will be the bigger organisations and capital cities.�

Mr Boyce said that due to Mandurah�s proximity to Perth, the major companies tended not to include the Peel region on their touring schedule and it was usually the small to medium companies who did.

�However, the funding changes could impact on their budget and Mandurah will miss out on some of the great shows we have been able to put on at MPAC,�� he said.

�We won�t have the successful and vibrant young groups coming through and MPAC needs that diversity. This could isolate us culturally.�

Mr Boyce said those who missed the Perth season and were prepared to visit/stay to see a show would not be drawn to Mandurah, affecting tourism.