Connected by creativity – Australia Council year in review

The Australia Council has released its latest Annual Report, Connected by creativity, detailing its investment in arts and creativity that connected Australians during 2019-20.

During a year of radical disruption, the Australia Council’s investment supported 21.1 million live attendances in Australia (prior to COVID-19) and 7,855 Australian artworks with a public outcome through an exhibition, performance, publication or recording.

CEO Adrian Collette AM says the report captures some impressive achievements during a historically significant time.

“Through the devastating bushfire crisis and our enforced separation during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen more clearly the connective power of arts and creativity for all Australians. We also celebrate the strength and breadth of activity during 2019-20, including all the wonderful performances and exhibitions, literary works, as well as regional, national and international tours delivered to Australian and global audiences before COVID-19,” he said

Due to COVID-19, many cultural organisations and workers pivoted to online content. The Council delivered a range of digital support activities including creating a digital community, quickly moving our capacity building work online.

The Council produced 16 First Nations weekly roundtables that brought together hundreds of First Nations artists and creatives and invested approximately $700,000 through the first stage of the new Cherish Fund, providing specific support for First Nations artists.

Chair Sam Walsh AO said creativity would continue to be vital as the nation looks to the future.

“Creativity will be vital to our recovery from this pandemic: to rebuilding our social connections, our wellbeing, our tourism and our economy. Now, more than ever, our artists have a significant role in helping Australians navigate rapid social, cultural and economic change and in building the health of our civil society.”

Key highlights:

  • In 2019-20 The Australia Council’s investment supported:
    • 21.1 million live attendances in Australia (prior to COVID-19) and 7,855 Australian artworks with a public outcome through an exhibition, performance, publication or recording
    • 10,980 new Australian artworks and 4.3 million international attendances in 57 countries (prior to COVID-19).
  • $24.1 million was invested to support 960 culturally diverse applications, fuelling diversity and vibrancy in Australian arts.
  • $17.4 million was invested in First Nations artists and communities. This included launching a new Custodianship program that supports First Nations leadership.
  • Research, including our National Arts Participation Survey, Electorate Profiles and Domestic Arts Tourism: Connecting the Country continued to build the evidence-base about the value of arts and creativity.

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