"The whole issue of the relationship between the private sector and the non-profit sector ... is up for grabs at the moment."So what is the state of arts philanthropy? How well is the sector doing? "I actually think arts organisations do a pretty reasonable job," Menzies said. "I think compared to possibly some other not-for-profit sectors we're pretty good at what we do. This is a great opportunity to review and evaluate what we all do now, and come up with some new ideas about other different ways that things can be done. It's also good timing with the review of the Australia Council." In recent times, crowdfunding has come to prominence as a new tool for arts philanthropy. Menzies says crowd funding has a role to play "in the right circumstances". "One thing that was put to me was should there be an arts crowdfunding platform and I would tend to say not. There are some really good platforms like Pozible and because they are broad-based you in fact might get people who come across a project who wouldn't necessarily have gone to an arts-only platform." The example of Pozible -- which has seen robust support for screen and film projects -- opens up the question of what sort of activities the new agency will support: "capital A" arts or culture more generally? "You'll notice in the name we're called Creative Partnerships Australia and that's to encompass all creative industries and not to exclude any," Menzies responded. "What it does also is get Joe Public to be able to realise that the arts are not just the opera and the ballet and the orchestra, and that almost everyone interacts with the arts in some form or another." The appointment of Menzies is still filtering down to the sector, but Crikey spoke to one industry figure that welcomed the move. Arts sector consultant Cathy Hunt of Positive Solutions says the new body should champion a new approach to arts partnerships, beyond the old traditions of corporate sponsorships and grants from foundations. "The whole issue of the relationship between the private sector and the non-profit sector -- which is obviously where the art sits -- is up for grabs at the moment," she said. "For businesses it is going to be triple-bottom line, for the non-profit setter it is going to be commercial and cultural value." Hunt argues that "what is happening under the radar in non-profit space under the heading of 'impact investing' has real potential for changing existing models of funding and financing the arts". Menzies is looking forward to getting started. "Hopefully it won't be too long before we have a complete board in place, and that means we can get on with the strategy and planning," she said.
Creative partnerships: a new approach to giving in the arts
Philanthropy in the arts is due for a shake-up. Crikey talks to the CEO of the federal government's new arts philanthropy organisation, Creative Partnerships Australia.