ACHIEVEMENTS AND CONSEQUENCES
Firstly the good news: Three out of Peter Haynes’ top five art picks for 2016 were CCAS exhibitions, Marie Hagerty’s Blue Blooded, Thoroughly Modern curated by David Broker, and Frazer Bull Clark’s The Big Shave. This is hot on the heels of Canberra Critic’s award to Denise Higgins and Gary Smith “for their ambitious, immersive installation Barbed Maze that evidenced the nightmare of uncertainty, surveillance and containment …”
Unfortunately accolades don’t seem to attract funds. CCAS’s latest application to the Australia Council for program funding has been knocked back and thus we are officially on our own. There may be some other opportunities to pick up a bit of extra funding over the year but at this point it cannot be factored into budgets.
Dealing with a worst-case scenario was always going to require severe reductions in programming and services to artists, and here they come – simply so CCAS can survive the year.
- The Gorman Art Centre program will be cutback to 5 longer exhibitions over 2017 (compared to 7 or 8 in previous years.) The decimation of the GAC programs means we will not be able to produce these award-winning shows in which artists can experiment, grow and achieve great things. CCAS Manuka and CCAS City programs are currently unaffected – fingers crossed.
- CCAS will no longer be able to pay freight, airfares and accommodation for visiting artists. This will severely restrict our national programming indicating that the Australia Council does not see Canberra as a venue for national visual artists (unless you are a glass artist or to a lesser extent, crafts person, in which case its very advantageous.) Go figure.
- As most people will know already the incredible Studio Residency Program for the ACT’s most talented emerging artists is suspended indefinitely. Associated with the ANU School of Art’s EASS scheme this will have long term implications for graduating artists and the vibrancy of Canberra’s art scene generally. As one grad duly noted “CCAS residencies are the best of EASS awards because they last for years!” Not any more.
- The 11th Blaze emerging artist exhibition will continue in 2017 but there are no guarantees afterwards. Sally Brand is the curator of Blaze XI and it is shaping up to be a ripper. Blaze has created an invaluable ongoing archive of Canberra’s up and coming practitioners, how they got there and where they are going; which incidentally, is a major thematic in Sally’s exhibition.
- Following the incredible success of the CCAS/RESO Network International Residency Exchange, where Kirsten Farrell and Enrico Partengo swapped places in Canberra and Turin, this program is also indefinitely suspended. Exchanges like this are of the greatest importance to artists and community development and needless to say, both Kirsten and Enrico are waxing lyrical about the growth of their practices in Australia and Italy.
- Another casualty will be CCAS’s idea to collaborate and mentor ARIs in regional Australia. 2016 saw a fabulous collaboration with The Walls Gallery in Miami Beach, Gold Coast. This included High Rise Low Rise, an exchange exhibition with 3 Canberra artists and 3 Gold Coast artists. There were also visits to both centres and much camaraderie between these two rather strange Aussie centres.
Needless to say CCAS is determined to find the funding to bring back all of these programs which one would think serve the objectives of funding bodies very adequately! In the current climate, however, this could take some time. 2017 will be a year of planning when staff and board members sit down and plot a better future.
WHAT YOU CAN DO!
- Tell everyone how important CCAS is to you, and Canberra’s arts community. It’s free and effective!
- Become a member or if you already are one convince your friends. We will be having a membership drive throughout the year so that supporters can put their money where their mouths are.
- Give a little extra if you’ve got it.
- Lobby politicians and friends in business to support CCAS exhibitions. Tell funding bodies how disappointed you are.
- Come to openings, its fun and also free. Come to everything!