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Mass dance action

11 Jun 2015

Mass dance action Image

By Kara Bertoncini

Hundreds gathered at ACCA last month to protest against the Federal Government’s proposed plan to shave more than $100 million from the budget of the Australian Council for the Arts.

Lovers of the arts around the nation engaged in a “mass dance action” in response to the Federal Arts Minister George Brandis’s plan.

The collective energy at the dance rally was high with all in attendance cheering and dancing for a cause.

Protester Tai Snaith said she hoped the actions of the protest would show the Government that the proposed change was something that would directly affect future generations of artists.

“Moving the funding will directly affect some of the programs that I benefited from when I was younger, so things like the international residencies and art start grants will be directly affected and possibly lost. This will mean that a lot of younger artists will not even get the chance to start their career,” Ms Snaith said.

Organiser from the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance Jake Wishart spoke confidently and reassured the arts community that the union would not let the campaign go away.

“We will be meeting and lobbying in Canberra, here in Melbourne and all over the place to make sure these cuts don’t go ahead, and to make sure that artists have control over artistic funding and not politicians,” Mr Wishart said.

Under the new policy, a new program for Excellence in the Arts will be established, which means over four years, $100 million would be diverted.

Arts activist Richard Vabre drew an interesting parallel to the Minister’s decisions, hoping it would only generate community support and understanding as to what these changes really meant to the arts community.

“I believe that funding should be at arms length from the Minister’s prerogative. It should be peer reviewed in the way that any kind of research and development is peer reviewed,” he said.

“You wouldn’t ask the Health Minister to decide which projects should be funded in health research, neither should you ask the Arts Minister to decide which projects should be funded in arts research,” Mr Vabre said.

Each capital city held their own dance protest and gained top trending position on Twitter for #FreeTheArts

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