Dear Friend of SCAF
I am reminded everyday how much the arts contribute to our society, our well-being and our identity. The reminders come from many sources, such as reading ABS Statistics that 94% of arts and recreations businesses have been impacted by Covid-19, the hardest hit of all sectors in the economy. The creative arts contribute $112 billion to Australia’s economy and employ 193,000 people. The sector is bigger than finance, accommodation and coal mining. Yet venues are closed, festivals and shows are cancelled, jobs are lost for artists, tech crews, skilled arts workers, venue managers and more. Matthew Westwood said in The Weekend Australian May 23 -24 2020, “The coronavirus lockdown has devastated the arts and cultural sector, shutting down untold exhibitions and performances and locking thousands out of their livelihoods”.
I am also aware that artists and creatives have been among the first to give their time during this crisis, delivering spontaneous performances on balconies and rooftops, and amazing performances online, alone and together. Many communities have turned to the arts for comfort, reassurance and entertainment during isolation.
What will the creative sector look like post Covid-19. Will our Sunshine Coast region rebuild the arts, for artists and for audiences. Can we reignite the inspiration that enriches our society and values artists and the arts as core to who we are.
All this has been on my mind, as SCAF progresses our two projects on professional development for artists and arts managers, and on market and audience development research for our region. We have invested our reserve funds to ensure that the future for the arts on the Sunshine Coast is strong. Without the arts, the region cannot achieve its vision to be Healthy, Smart and Creative, nor can SCAF achieve its vision. We fervently believe that the arts define who we are, and must be nurtured and encouraged to ‘stay alive’. Some artists I talk to are so stressed, that they cannot fire their creative spirit, others are busily adapting to an online world, hoping that their audience is on the same journey.
I am sure you, too, have faced extraordinary challenges during this lockdown. Our trust in our leaders has led us through the health crisis, and we are now taking tentative steps towards social gathering and work productivity. I hope you are well and have overcome the challenges of isolation, working from home, home schooling, reduced customers and lost income. We are taking this journey together, and I look forward to talking with you, sharing our experiences and learnings, and planning for a future where the arts and artists are valued and thrive in our ‘new world’. SCAF will be here, ready to provide support and reassurance to the arts on the Sunshine Coast. I know you will be part of this. My thoughts are with you.
Warmest wishes, stay safe.
Prof Jennifer Radbourne
Chair Sunshine Coast Arts Foundation