Posted by Ushan Boyd
The Arts in Australia has it's ups and downs, no denying it. Sometimes it is flying with full support and political backing, other times it is shunted to the side as a bit player in a grand plan. So just how important is the arts to a communities wellbeing?
There is a sense (amongst artists usually, and appreciators of art) that there is something more than niceties to the arts. An understated something that is obvious, but not recognised. That the arts provides something that nothing else really does. To say that it is important is true, but doesn't cover it, and anyway, where is the evidence? We know it is valuable, but how? and to who?
This report by Arts Victoria and the Department for Planning and Community Development "demonstrates that arts can be a powerful and inclusive way of strengthening communities". It goes onto to prove that creative focus, pride, confidence, a sense of belonging and new career opportunities and pathways can be provided for anyone, including hard to reach populations, youth, ethnic groups and socio-economically disadvantaged communities.
This work by Kim Dunphy for the Creative City Network of Canada focuses on Regional Arts in Australia and notes that "art and creative initiative are significant for the development of rural and remote communities in the economic, environmental, social, and cultural domain".
Research is accumulating. The case for effective and committed Arts Policies is gaining ground. It's a good thing for vibrant, engaging towns, and it's all in the name of good fun.
How the arts and cultural sector strengthen cultural values and preserve heritage and history
From the rest of the world
How the Arts Impacts Communities
Making the Case for Arts Education