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THE ARTS AND THE COMMON GOOD

Katharine Brisbane

Platform Paper 43

Katharine Brisbane

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What is art? What is culture? And what value do we place upon it today? Katharine Brisbane looks back on our changing culture and the way public subsidy since 1968 has built massive opportunities for our artists, performers and those who have built an industry around them. She also traces the divisions that have grown between the community and the arts sector, and the moral divide between art and commerce. She concludes that the promised pursuit of excellence has been fulfilled and exhausted; and proposes a way to salvage its achievements by throwing open our major institutions to public investment and private enterprise, releasing creativity into new directions and reconsidering how we might together build an inclusive cultural environment.

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About the Author

KATHARINE BRISBANE, AM, theatre critic and historian, was co-founder in 1971 of the performing arts publisher Currency Press; and in 2001 of the not for profit arts advocate Currency House.

What if the not-for-profit status was removed from the equation? What if the Federal Government gave the Major Performing Arts Companies a handshake worth six years’ subsidy and told them to rethink their mission, restructure their company and invite investment?... 

What then would the Australia Council be doing in this scenario? Investing in innovation and quality: supporting the development of a national theatre, sustaining our tradition and community, and developing high-risk individual talent…

What would this mean for our high art?