The Arts

Jul 8, 2011

Newcastle arts festival shortfall highlights grant discrimination

The loss of funding for innovative Newcastle festival This Is Not Art highlights the inconsistencies of cultural funding. The majority of grant dollars are not allocated competitively.

Ben Eltham — <em>Crikey</em> arts commentator

Ben Eltham

Crikey arts commentator

“What happens if we don’t get our grant?” It’s the question that keeps CEOs and staff members of small arts organisations awake in the small hours.


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9 thoughts on “Newcastle arts festival shortfall highlights grant discrimination

  1. Angus

    “nationally recognised festival” should really be “internationally recognised.” Last year Lonely Planet voted Newcastle #9 in its “Top Ten Cities to Visit in the _World_”

    Go to Lonely Planet’s “Things To Do” in Newcastle, and what is Number 1? This Is Not Art.

  2. Nicholas Pickard

    Ben, did they apply for state or federal funding?

  3. Brisvegas1

    The issue is not did they apply to other sources for additional funding – the real issue is the difficulty in sourcing ongoing operational funding.

    Arts orgs and festivals are often quite successful at getting funding for individual projects or artistic output, but secure sources of funding for day to day operational activities are very limited and extremely hard to get.

    This means that arts orgs are left to rely on volunteers, stealing operational funds from project, potentially risking the accrual of large debts or just flat out neglecting basic business administration and planning.

    Operational funding does not need to be large in the context of overall budgets to play a critical role in the successful performance and governance of arts orgs.

    Short sited funding organisations will hypocritically cut operational funding before they cut project funding, totally neglecting the critical dependency between the two activities.

  4. Nicholas Pickard

    Well it is an issue, because today… right now… they need $18,000.

  5. Jeepers

    They also always apply for both state and federal funding. For organisations like this, funding is made up of contributions from across the board – something that is taken into account by the funding bodies. So this $18,000 is essential regardless.
    I wish them luck, it’s a great festival and a huge part of the cultural year for many different areas (underground music, writing, youth media, etc)


    If only there was a Football Workshop or two, you know, where some grog company could whack on a logo and an endless line of media hacks could weave infinitely mindless commentaries. Invite some inarticulate exponents of the art, have a few drunken nights out, an assault or two…and bingo, you’d have an ocean of free publicity and sponsors crawling all over it.

    File under: how things actually work.

  7. yowsers

    It’s funny you suggest that, because Newcastle Council once asked for TINA to move weekends as it was clashing with football grand final celebrations and the busiest wedding weekend on the calendar. To say that Newcastle Council cares about a group of young arts practioneers and wants to provide a diverse sense of culture in the town would be garbage.

  8. Tim nash

    I live in Newcastle and have had ties with TINA and Octopod in the past and I am shocked that their funding is cut.

    I am not sure why Newcastle council feels the way it does, it dosen’t really make sense lets hope TINA can dust itself off and carry on.

  9. Kevin Tyerman

    I am not an arts person, but I certainly recognise the This Is Not Art Festival, and it’s acronym TINA, – both of which I do connect to Newcastle, even though I live in southern NSW. While I have not visited that (or any other) Arts Festival, I am sure that that amount of funding represents a healthy investment for the Newcastle city and community.

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