Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Money well spent

After all the publicity surrounding the decision of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts to award Anita Heiss $90,000 to write two published novels, I wanted to have a look at other lucky recipients, and follow up on money that we're all sure is well spent.

Case Study One:

In addition to being Aboriginal, Jacob Boehme (pictured below) has a both a Post Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Puppetry.  I am not kidding. 

In the twelve months from February 2011, to February 2012, Jacob has been showered with more than $51,000 from the same Board.  $45,000 for his new company (IDJA) to put on a play described as amateurish by the SMH, $5,549 to attend a Copenhagen performing arts get-together, and $900 to go to the Performing Arts Market at the Adelaide Festival.  

Case Study Two

Stephen Gilchrist (pictured below), began his career as a Trainee Assistant Curator for the National Gallery of Australia in their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Department.

This Traineeship, he says 'helped to accelerate my career trajectory and led to my appointment as Curator of Indigenous Art at the National Gallery of Victoria'.  Even though he has been Curator since 2005, he is apparently still a struggling Aboriginal artist.  Struggling enough to require $14,964 in funding from the Board to attend a New York residency program.

Case Study Three 

Umi Arts Ltd, received $164,717 in 2010 to employ a full-time Arts worker. 

It is also interesting to note that Leo Akee, a Director at Umi Arts  is also a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board .  The same board that has awarded Umi Arts funding in excess of $200,000 since 2009.

Case Study Four

Ian Colless is apparently an Indigenous dancer/choreographer.

Ian RT Colless

He won an unpaid year long apprenticeship in New York, to help him hone his craft.  The Arts Council, rather than let an underprivileged young black man go hungry, made sure he received a grant of  $32,451.00.  When he wanted to travel to Canada little more than a year later, $5,000.00 was made available for him to do so.

Case Study Five

If you watched Australian Story recently, you may have come across the story of AIME and its wunderkid CEO Jack Manning Bancroft.  Jack traces his Aboriginality through his mother, Bronwyn Bancroft:-

Bronwyn has her own company called 'Designer Aboriginals'.  Early last year, Bronwyn herself was the recipient of $23,300.00 of the Arts Council largesse, to assist her with getting more of her artworks into the public eye.

It's easy money, especially if you happen to be connected to the right people.