Perth Hatching Party - Friday May 26, 2017

Arts Illuminated Australia officially launched on Friday 26 May 2017 at the Studio Startup basement, in Perth WA.  Here's the opening speech made by board member Andrew Batt-Rawden.

 Board member Andrew Batt-Rawden

Board member Andrew Batt-Rawden

Thanks for joining us today.

I hate speeches, but what we’re on the road to achieving here needs to be explained.

 Supported artists Louis Hurley, Melanie Bainbridge and Louise McKay

Supported artists Louis Hurley, Melanie Bainbridge and Louise McKay

There’s been a lot of disruption in the arts recently. Last week, a quarter of Fairfax’s editorial staff lost their positions. As a result, arts journalism is taking another big hit. This year the Catalyst fund is returning to the Australia Council…. under the condition that some of it is allocated from the independent sector’s pot to the AMPAG strongholds. Copyright is currently being investigated with heated debates around policy that will affect artists financially and administratively. There have been major gifts from private philanthropists to make or augment major arts legacy edifices across the country. This can have a trickle down effect to the small to medium and independent sector, but this is not always the case.

We live in a world being destroyed socially, environmentally and artistically by myopia and greed…. yet paradoxically in conjunction it is being positively recreated by visionaries who take risks and those who are generous.

Arts Initiative Australia was established to support the arts in ways that are needed yet not currently serviced. One area that has been difficult to fund through currently available channels has been the structures that build capacities of artists, or of the arts as a whole. At Arts Initiative, we're encouraging of risk taking arts visionaries and entrepreneurs who want to support their sector in ways that respond to the times in which we live, as much as we’re supportive of artists who want to build their own capacities to have sustainability in their practice.

 Board members Claire Stokes and Andrew Batt-Rawden

Board members Claire Stokes and Andrew Batt-Rawden

To be up front, we don’t have any money stashed away - nobody’s died and left a bequest. I’m the oldest member of the board and I’m 32. I can barely afford my smashed avo and soy latte in the mornings let alone big arts donations... we may be cash poor but we’re on the frontline and our resources reach far beyond dollars and we're going to use what we have we to help the projects we’re supporting. In my case that's a small, manageable monthly tax deductible donation, a bit of media, some time to share experience and a lot of contacts.

These types of projects need more than just some coinage to get off the ground… and a part of what we’re doing is brokering mentors, giving advice on building business structures, supporting artists to develop the teams they need around them to enable them to excel at their practice… and we’re not doing this from a distance, but face to face - or at least over Skype - a conversation with the right person and a bit of volunteering can make a huge impact - particularly when we’re looking at experimental and developmental projects.

We’re launching tonight with 9 projects… but we’ll be taking applications at any time of year - and if we have the capacity to help, we will.

A bit about each project we’re launching with;

I’d like to introduce you to Louis Hurley, standing over there. He’s a tenor of incredible talent who’s been offered a scholarship to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London in a very competitive and highly regarded masters program that will springboard him to an international career. 2 years in London studying full time is not cheap, despite the scholarship.

The Pack is headed by Melanie Bainbridge and she’s standing right over there. It’s an ingenious plan to make software for businesses to be able to play music by local artists in their shopfronts, cafes or offices - giving more royalties to local composers, singer-songwriters and recording artists, and more awareness of local talent. Making music selectable by geography as well as style is a big idea that will have both local and international appeal.

Finally, Louise McKay is an incredible cellist with the idea of connecting artists and private homes, making more paid work for performance artists, and developing audiences for them. Her business will be art form agnostic, and will offer a plethora of different types of live artistic experiences.

In addition to these three projects we’re supporting a classical music industry publication for emerging artists, a new national arts publication focussing on regional and country arts, a performance artist going to a residency in Iceland, the creation of an enabling support structure for a theatre director with an invisible disability, a young poet making a slam poetry sex and gender education program for schools as well as the development of a festival of new music in Adelaide.

I’d like to make a couple of acknowledgments. This venue came through at the last minute because I monumentally fucked up with scheduling and we had to move venues at the last minute - so thank you Studio Startup; they're a new shared office space and have at least 13 desks available and low costs, check out the website. I’d like to thank the board members who can’t be here, Andrew Luboski and our chair Natalie Zwar as well as Toby Chadd who helped us in the beginnings of forming this idea, and Simpsons Solicitors who offered their advice to help us negotiate with ROCO and ACNC.

But I really want to thank Claire Stokes, who’s on the board, based here in Perth, and has been instrumental in getting this launch off the ground.

Please mingle and tingle, talk to the artists about their projects, come talk to Claire or myself about Arts Initiative, and if you want to donate for any of the projects specifically or to Arts Initiative generally that capacity is now online. We Are Launched!

 Louise McKay performing at the launch.

Louise McKay performing at the launch.

Andrew Batt-Rawden