The Brag

Creative Sydney: Thursday June 4

In Arts, Creative Sydney on June 8, 2009 at 3:37 pm


Begging, borrowing and stealing are officially outmoded avenues of income, even for artists. Tonight’s Creative Sydney panel shed light on the processes of philanthropy, fundraising and investing, and other ways of thinking waaaaaay outside the moneybox.

Clark Butler from Ironbark Ferrier (a corporate advisory firm) chaired the discussion and opened by stating the truth: That there is often a very big bureaucratic wall that you need to jump over in order to get anywhere near the money you need.

The panel featured Rebecca Noonan (Powerhouse Museum) who emphasised the importance of understanding your key supporters, not being afraid to ask for money where you need it and for building a diverse range of sources so that if one falls through, you don’t follow. She also stressed the need to dissolve the perception that asking for money is “selling out” or compromising artistic vision. I thought perhaps that depends on whom you ask for the money, but apparently that doesn’t matter either, if you really need it.

FBi radio really needs it, and they are asking Richard Branson for a million dollars. Evan Kaldor (FBi’s general manager) explained the drive behind the “Ask Richard” campaign, where FBi is asking listeners to ask Richard for the cash. In my view, the catchy campaign is already a success as it has produced some pretty stellar community efforts, including the “Rich Bran” spoof ad, which was presented (think Brand Power but instead, “Bran Power – helping Fbi get better”).

Some of the most cutting-edge ideas were presented by Kees Dorst (UTS) who first highlighted the differences between bankers and artists, and then argued that there is the need for a bank in Australia dedicated to the creative industries, in order to improve creative interaction with the economy and in order to provide artists with sustainable investment opportunities, growth and stability. It sounded good, but part of me remembered that bureaucratic wall. It’s growing higher and higher.

Is the institutionalisation of a creative industry economy going to help or hinder the diversity of our art and culture? To what extent are we forced into complying with marketing concepts when all we want is to create? Why do we need to work so hard simply to justify art making and other creative endeavours?

One speaker pointed out that money is not what we want; it is a means to getting what we want; and tonight’s vibrant discussion proved that at least there are many ways to try.

The panel also featured Zac Zavos (Lost At E-Minor), Alex Light (Pages Digital), Renato Rispoli (Event Development Manager, Lifestyle and Culture, Events NSW) and a screening of the webcast program Make: Do.

[Posted by Roz Helper]


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