APY Lands: funding for art centre infrastructure

First posted on 15 April 2012 under APY Lands.
This article has been updated and archived.
Tags: art centres & infrastructure

Summary

painting_hand1In September 2011, the Australian Government provided $2.84 million towards the costs of building and upgrading art centre infrastructure in six APY communities.[i]

All of these works are expected to be completed by mid 2013.[ii]

The Paper Trail

Introduction

There are seven art centres on the APY Lands. Each one is owned and governed by local Anangu artists. More than 460 artists work out of these centres.[iii]

Between 2006 and 2010, the income generated by Anangu artists from the sale of works produced at APY art centres increased “from around $1.3 million” to more than $4 million per annum.[iv]

Senate Inquiry

In 2006, the Australian Senate established an Inquiry into Australia’s “Indigenous visual arts and craft sector.”[v]

The terms of reference for the Inquiry included examining “the current and likely future priority infrastructure needs of the sector”. [vi]

In its submission to the Inquiry, Ananguku Arts and Culture – the peak body for artists on the APY Lands – observed:

The principal priority for infrastructure is capital for buildings and/or building maintenance… The majority of art centre buildings in [the] APY Lands are sub-standard and inappropriate for artists’ needs and for occupational health and safety. In particular, objectives of engaging men in art practice cannot be met where the sharing of (already inadequate) work space with women is culturally unacceptable.[vii]

Similar concerns were raised by Desart (the Association of Central Australian Art and Craft Centres):

Art Centres have traditionally sprung up out of women’s centres and used whatever building … [has] been made available … They are rarely purpose built structures. Over the years these buildings that were fundamentally unsuitable at the outset have further deteriorated because of limited maintenance resources.[viii]

On 20 June 2007, the Inquiry’s final report was tabled in the Australian Senate.[ix]

The report drew attention to the way infrastructure pressures impact on art centres operations:

While art centres face many challenges, there is little doubt that physical infrastructure deficiencies appear to be the greatest. The [Inquiry] received considerable evidence suggesting art centre infrastructure is over-stretched and getting rundown … the sector seems to have grown rapidly, yet the funding to support it has not.[x]

The Inquiry formally recommended (Recommendation 4) that the Australian Government “establish a new infrastructure fund to assist Indigenous visual arts and crafts” and that the fund “be for a sum of the order of $25 million, made available over a period of five years.”[xi]

In August 2008, the Australian Government provided a written response to the Inquiry’s report. In response to Recommendation 4, the Government stated that this matter would be “subject to consideration in a future Budget process.”[xii]

The Paper Tracker notes that funding for the establishment of the proposed infrastructure fund was not included in either the 2009-10, the 2010-11 or the 2011-12 Federal Budgets.[xiii]

Funding announcement

On 7 September 2011, the Australian Minister for Regional Australia (Hon Simon Crean MP) announced that his government would provide Ananguku Arts with $2.84 million “to upgrade and build new art centre infrastructure on the APY Lands.”[xiv]

Information released at that time indicated that:

  • this funding would be used to address infrastructure needs in Amata, Iwantja, Kalka, Kaltjiti, Mimili and Pukatja; and
  • the upgrading and expansion of production space in these six communities would “have the equivalent impact of starting up another two art centres in terms of [the] impact on productivity and Indigenous employment.”[xv]

Project description

On 13 February 2012, Ananguku Arts advised the Paper Tracker that the Australian Government’s funding would be used for the following developments:

  • Iwantja Arts: the construction of a new men’s painting room and the refurbishment of the existing art centre;
  • Mimili Maku: the construction of new men’s and women’s painting rooms, an office and a wet area;
  • Kaltjiti Arts: the construction of a new men’s painting room and the re-roofing and refurbishment of the existing painting area;
  • Ernabella Arts (Pukatja): the construction of a new men’s painting room, the refurbishment of the office and the replacement of a septic/plumbing;
  • Tjala Arts (Amata): the construction of an archives room; and
  • Ninuku Arts (Kalka): the construction of a new painting room.[xvi]

Ananguku Arts also indicated that a steering committee had been established to oversee the project and that it was aiming to have all of the work completed by 31 July 2013. [xvii]

The Paper Tracker has congratulated the Australian Government on its decision to fund these and other important improvements to art centre infrastructure on the APY Lands.[xviii]

This article has been archived and will no longer be updated. It will, however, remain accessible online as a source of background information for anyone wishing to undertake further research on this issue. Information included in the article was current at the time it was archived. Keep in mind, however, that Ministerial changes and names of departments, among other things, may have since changed.


[i] Crean, S. 7 September 2011. “$150 million in round one Regional Development Australian Funding,” media release.

[ii] Tregenza, E. 13 February 2012. Email to J. Nicholls and attached notes from Ananguku Arts and Culture Aboriginal Corporation.

[iii] Ananguku Arts. 2010. “APY Arts” webpage. Available at: http://www.anangukuarts.com.au/content/apy-lands. Accessed 14 September 2010.

[iv] Tregenza, L (Ananguku Arts and Culture Aboriginal Corporation). 13 April 2012. Email to J. Nicholls. Also: Tregenza, L (Ananguku Arts and Culture Aboriginal Corporation). 23 September 2010. Email to J. Nicholls and associated attachment. Earlier, in late 2006, the combined “net value of art sales” through the seven APY art centres was reportedly in the range of $1.3 to $1.5 million per annum, “with current annual growth of an estimated 30%” (Ananguku Arts and Culture Aboriginal Corporation. 27 November 2006, “Inquiry into the Indigenous visual arts and craft sector. Submission by Ananguku Arts and Culture Aboriginal Corporation,” p3.

[v] Ellison, C. 15 August 2006, “Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Legislation Committee, Senate, Hansard, Parliament of Australia, p43-44.

[vi] Ellison, C. 15 August 2006, “Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Legislation Committee, Senate, Hansard, Parliament of Australia, p44.

[vii] Ananguku Arts and Culture Aboriginal Corporation. 27 November 2006, “Inquiry into the Indigenous visual arts and craft sector. Submission by Ananguku Arts and Culture Aboriginal Corporation,” p3-4. Submission No. 46.

[viii] Desart Inc. 2006, “Submission to: The Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Committee. Inquiry into Australia’s Indigenous Visual Arts and Crafts Sector” p16. Submission No. 49.

[ix] Eggleston, A. 20 June 2007, “Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Committee: Report,” Hansard, Australian Senate, p95.

[x] Parliament of Australia. 2007, Indigenous Art – Securing the Future: Australia’s Indigenous visual arts and crafts sector, Report of the Standing Committee on Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, p39 & p40.

[xi] Recommendation 4 reads in full: “The committee recommends that the Commonwealth establish a new infrastructure fund to assist Indigenous visual arts and craft; that this fund complement existing NACIS program funding; that this infrastructure fund be for a sum of the order of $25 million, made available over a period of five years; and that the fund be administered by DCITA.” (see: Parliament of Australia. 2007, Indigenous Art – Securing the Future: Australia’s Indigenous visual arts and crafts sector, Report of the Standing Committee on Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, p47).

[xii] Australian Government. August 2008, “Australian Government response to the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Committee Report: Indigenous Art – Securing the Future. Australia’s Indigenous visual arts and craft sector” p4.

[xiii] The Paper Tracker notes that the Federal Budget for 2009-10 provided $9.9million over four years to increase operational funding for arts centre and to establish an Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct to guide ethical commerce in the sector” (see: Macklin, J. 12 May 2009, Closing the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian, Budget Statement, p15-16). The Federal Budget for 2010-11 included an allocation of $4million over four years “to enable Indigenous art centres to develop sustainable business models within the wider National Arts and Craft Industry Support (NACIS) program” (see: Macklin, J. 11 May 2010. Closing the Gap – building momentum, Budget Statement, p34).

[xiv] Crean, S. 7 September 2011. “$150 million in round one Regional Development Australian Funding,” media release.

[xv] See: Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sports. 2011. RDAF – Round One details of successful projects”, http://www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs/rdaf_round_one.aspx. Accessed 4 April 2012.

[xvi] Tregenza, E. 13 February 2012. Email to J. Nicholls and attached notes from Ananguku Arts and Culture Aboriginal Corporation. Also: Tregenza, E. 13 April 2012. Email to J. Nicholls.

[xvii] Tregenza, E. 13 February 2012. Email to J. Nicholls and attached notes from Ananguku Arts and Culture Aboriginal Corporation.

[xviii] McDonald, P. 21 December 2011. Letter to Hon. Simon Crean.

The Paper Tracker works hard to provide accurate and up-to-date information. We will correct any inaccurate information as soon as it is brought to our attention. Please contact us if you have additional information or can provide us with an update.