Take the Lemons and Make Lemonade

It is unfortunate to start the week on a devastating note: George Brandis’s new NPEA will distribute $20m in grant money to large arts organisations and purposefully exclude individual artists. Adding fuel to the flames, the budget cuts will begin to affect the arts sector as soon as 2015 funding rounds, leaving the Australia Council with only have $12m to stretch amongst two funding rounds in September and February. This is a massive loss compared to the 2013/2014 funding rounds, which allotted the Australia Council to distribute $46m amongst projects, fellowships, the touring programs and the artists with disabilities program. Finally, to tip the iceberg (so to speak), those organisations and artists who were expecting to receive funding from Australia Council for the next three years after the last competitive application process will lose that funding and are forced to reapply again but for smaller amounts.

Like the rest of Australia’s arts community, my heart is broken. However, being the optimistic that I am, I look forward to making lemonade out the lemons the government chooses to give us. I especially want to remind everyone that there are other options to funding projects and they’re not far away. BcauseARTS is a Melbourne-based company is committed to doing the legwork of finding atlernative funding solutions for the independent arts sector by approaching small businesses and individual community members interested in giving back to their community.  As founder of BcauseARTS, I enjoy speaking on behalf of this wonderful arts community – I have been advocating for the arts for over 10 years and have turned audience members into annual donors for several arts organisations.  Additionally, I believe that small gifting is the best way to offer support.

Don’t believe me?  Read Philip Thiel’s story from last Tuesday’s Arts Hub (for the full article, CLICK HERE). Thiel, a teacher and online blogger, decided to support the Australian arts community by committing $5,000 from his annual budget to build the Thiel Grant for Online Writing. At the end of two years and a lot of hard work setting up the fund, he launched his foundation and opened grant applications for writers to submit proposals in support of upcoming projects. Like BcauseARTS, Philip believes that every person is a philanthropist, if they only start small. That’s the key – small gifting adds up! To Philip Thiel, I say thank you. On behalf of the arts community, thank you for setting the example. May we all commit to small gifting for the arts.

If you are interested in supporting Thiel’s Grant for Online Writing, please CLICK HERE.

Similarly, if you would like to be introduced to an independent artist or small/medium arts organisation through BcauseARTS, please email bcausearts@gmail.com.