NAVA's Key Achievements

Since NAVA’s establishment in 1983, it has been successful in securing policy and legislative change to encourage the growth and development of the sector and to increase professionalism within the industry.



  • Launched the sixth edition of the Code of Practice for Visual Arts, Craft and Design which was developed through extensive partnerships, consultation feedback sessions and working groups over three years with over 2,000 artists, arts workers and organisations across Australia. 
  • Launched #RecogniseArtistsAsWorkers campaign calling for a legislated Award for the visual arts, craft and design sector.
  • Advocated for targeted support for the visual arts, craft and design sector including accessible insurance and crisis funding for artists and galleries to respond to emergencies without drawing funds from their ongoing work. 
  • Distributed $30,000 through the Artists’ Benevolent Fund to artists affected by flooding in northern NSW. 
  • #VoteForArt campaign called on federal election candidates to support five key policy priorities: put First Nations first; stimulate long-term sustainability; pay artists for their work; prioritise equity, cultural safety and accessibility; and nourish arts education. 
  • Facilitated five workshops to engage Members in the development of NAVA’s submission to the Australian Government’s new National Cultural Policy consultation. 
  • Received project funding from the Australia Council for the Arts to employ two Education Coordinators in a full-time job share to develop and pilot a new Code of Practice learning program for secondary and tertiary schools that introduces aspiring artists and arts sector workers to the fundamentals of good practice industry standards. 
  • Facilitated monthly National Visual Arts Roundtable.
  • Joined a Consortium of Peak Arts Bodies bringing together a united voice across multiple sectors, including First Nations, live performance, dance, music, theatre, screen, literature, and the visual arts.
  • Made 7 submissions to government inquiries and consultations including the Productivity Commission study into Aboriginal Visual Arts, Treasury’s Employment White Paper, Australian Universities Accord and the Copyright Amendment (Access Reforms) Bill 2021.
  • Distributed $40,000 to visual and media arts, craft and design practitioners through NAVA’s Grants.


  • Announced $60,000 from the Australia Council and $40,000 from Create NSW to support NAVA’s major revision of the Code of Practice in 2021. This funding assisted NAVA to employ a ‘payment-for-consultation’ model that centres the diversity of our arts communities and paid them directly as advisers, designers and co-authors of the new Code.
  • Established a Disability Advisory Group for the Code revision project. The group includes eight artists and arts workers with disability. Quarterly meetings were facilitated by Daniel Savage to review and make recommendations for the usability of the Code of Practice online.
  • Announced a new collaborative leadership model. 
  • Welcomed Clothilde Bullen as the new Chair of the Board. 
  • Georgia Mokak, NAVA First Nations Research and Engagement Coordinator, spent one day a week doing online and over the phone community engagement across the country in regards to industry standards, the Code of Practice and improving working conditions for First Nations artists and arts workers.
  • Continued to advocate for government action to support artists, arts workers, and organisations impacted by COVID-19. 
  • Undertook three snap surveys of the visual arts and craft sector throughout the year, which all revealed major declines in income through cancelled contracts and commissions and reduced opportunities to sell artwork. 
  • Through the Artists’ Benevolent Fund, NAVA distributed $76,000 to 38 artists seeking emergency relief. 
  • Released the 'Sit For An Artist' campaign in response to deep concerns about the long-term impacts of the pandemic and lockdowns on visual artists, galleries, organisations and arts workers. The campaign called for three urgent measures to ensure hard-hit artists and arts workers have access to vital financial support and to build resilience and confidence for the sector.
  • Developed a Local Government Engagement Toolkit (titled Love Your Local) which was released in 2023. 
  • Collaborative Mentorship Initiative offered early-career practitioners the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with advising artists and arts workers to build the knowledge, skills and networks to pursue projects and goals.
  • Published 6 new NAVA Guides: First Nations cultural heritage conservation; accountability and the arts; the limitations of ‘female and non-binary’ frameworks; the entitlements of casual employees; advisory groups; and easing the admin burden for artists.
  • Presented 12 professional development workshops around Australia to more than 540 attendees.
  • Made 10 submissions to government inquiries and consultations including the Australian Curriculum Review, Fair Work Amendment Bill, Job Security, and reforms to the Australian Research Council (ARC).


  • Joined emergency response collaborations in the wake of the 2020 bushfire season and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. 
  • Began work on a full revision of the Code of Practice for the Professional Australian Visual Arts, Craft & Design Sector to create a valuable twenty-first-century resource for a sector that’s ambitious and fair. NAVA and research partners from RMIT School of Art hosted ten one-hour online conversations focusing on different areas of the Code. Hundreds of artist and organisational NAVA Members, colleagues and stakeholders joined us to contribute their experience and insight to these discussions. 
  • Assessed impacts of the coronavirus crisis on the sector, led policy discussions, and worked with government bodies to present useful information.
  • Facilitated a weekly National Visual Arts Roundtable, which examined policy, risk and business continuity issues for organisations and sector bodies, serving as a recovery taskforce as well as a reference point for collegiate exchange.
  • Sent an open letter to the Prime Minister, front bench, Opposition, state ministers and lord mayors was signed by 130 organisations across all artforms, following which several of our requests were met by the Australian Government, including wage subsidies, eligibility changes for support payments, support for Aboriginal arts centres and an increase to the Regional Arts Fund. We outlined what’s missing and what’s still needed, and we continue to advocate.
  • Re-established the Artists’ Benevolent Fund which had been dormant for a number of years. The first major contributors were the governments of South Australia and the City of Sydney, followed by philanthropist Brett Kelly and artist Alex Seton who created a new donors’ circle called ClubB50. Creative Partnerships Australia then generously doubled all donations which was pivotal to building the fund.
  • Delivered an eighteen week online program of advocacy training in the lead up to Arts Day on the Hill 2020. Participants were connected with members of Parliament and provided with the tools and resources to champion an ambitious arts agenda with long-term impact. 
  • Met with Paul Fletcher MP to recommend three impactful reforms.
  • Made submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions, the Bushfires Royal Commission, Federal Budget 2020-21, NSW Government grant programs, Job Ready university reform, NDS and NDIS Outcomes Frameworks, Religious Freedoms Bills, Indigenous Visual Arts Action Plan, and to the Select Committee on the Aboriginal Flag.
  • Distributed $230,000 in value to visual and media arts, craft and design practitioners through the NAVA Grants programs.
  • Quoted and mentioned more than 100 times in mainstream media as the voice of the Australian contemporary arts sector.


  • launched Arts Agenda to help policy-makers, journalists and academics connect with current research and advocacy in our field
  • co-presented the national symposium Australian Cultural Policy: The Next Decade with Monash University Masters of Cultural & Creative Industries
  • updated our Advocacy Toolkit and released our Election Report Cards to guide well-distributed advocacy across the country
  • with the Australian Museums and Galleries Association (AMaGA) presented a national roundtable on advocacy priorities in Canberra, with ACDC (Australian Craft and Design Centres), artist-run initiatives network All Conference, CAAMD (Council of Australian Art Museum Directors), CAMD (Council of Australian Museum Directors), CAOA (Contemporary Arts Organisations Australia), Copyright Agency (formerly Viscopy), GLAM Peak (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums), and ICOM Australia (International Council of Museums), with written contributions from Arts Law and Artists in the Black
  • presented the first Arts Day on the Hill in Canberra with All Conference, Asialink Arts, Arts Access Australia, Australian Museums & Galleries Association, Diversity Arts Australia, Live Performance Australia, Performing Arts Connections Australia and Regional Arts Australia, plus workshops by Museum of Australian Democracy, Parliament House, the International Federation of Arts Councils & Culture Agencies and Regional Arts Australia. We trained and supported an advocate from every state and territory to take that advocacy to the next level, and we also launched a Parliamentary Friendship Group for Contemporary Arts & Culture with parliamentarians from across all key parties
  • partnered with Countess to launch Clear Expectations: Guidelines for institutions, galleries and curators working with trans, non-binary and gender diverse artists in Australia by Spence Messih and Archie Barry, and supported the launch of the latest Countess Report
  • wrote submissions in response to the National Indigenous Arts and Cultural Authority (NIACA) consultation, National Inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, Senate Inquiry into Nationhood, National Identity and Democracy, and the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into The Social and Economic Benefits of Improving Mental Health
  • distributed nearly $113,000 in value to visual and media arts, craft and design practitioners through the NAVA Grants programs
  • quoted and mentioned more than 100 times in mainstream media as the voice of the Australian contemporary arts sector.



  • launched a new Fair Pay for Artists campaign to gain adherence to a group of rights for artists and other art professionals. This includes artists’ fees, superannuation for artists and art workers and a pension supplement to be paid when artists' incomes drop below the poverty level.
  • published S2M: The economics of Australia’s small-to-medium visual arts sector, a report commissioned by NAVA from consultants Economists at Large. It is the first comprehensive study of the Australian S2M visual arts sector undertaken since the 2002 Contemporary Visual Arts and Craft Inquiry (Myer Inquiry).
  • NAVA’s Articles changed to include an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Visual Arts Representative Director on the board in an identified role.
  • Wiradjuri artist, Amala Groom, elected unopposed as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Visual Arts Representative Director on the board.
  • provided a submission in response to the Australian Government’s Inquiry into ‘innovation and creativity: workforce for the new economy’. which aimed to determine how best Australia’s tertiary education system can meet these needs in a future labour force.
  • wrote a submission in response to the Government's School to Work Inquiry.
  • submitted a response to Treasury's discussion paper proposal to strengthen the DGR governance arrangements - especially in relation to advocacy issues. 
  • began a partnership with LGNSW and Create NSW to resolve widespread and ongoing issues with public art commissioning. 
  • wrote submissions to the Review of Copyright Regulations 1969 and the Copyright Tribunal (Procedure) Regulations 1969.
  • wrote a submission to The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs inquiry into the growing presence of inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 'style' art and craft products and merchandise for sale across Australia. 


  • continued the campaign against federal arts funding cuts and advocated for arts policy to be on the 2016 election agenda, sent key ideas to all political parties and partnered in a National Day of Action for the Arts and the Arts Election Debate.
  • wrote submissions and campaigned for protection of creators’ copyright, gender equity, sustainability of the 3 Sydney art schools, VET student loans for arts courses and STEAM.
  • launched the Agenda for Australian Craft and Design as the final outcome of the 3 year National Craft Initiative managed by NAVA in partnership with ACDC.
  • worked with Economists at Large, commissioned by NAVA to do research into S2M visual arts organisations for launch early in 2017.
  • advised on artist Elvis Richardson’s work on the CoUNTess report researching gender inequity in the arts.
  • appointed Carley Commens, as NAVA’s Brisbane based Queensland Program Coordinator to roll out NAVA programs across the state with support from Arts Queensland.
  • commissioned consultant Helen Salmon to write a development plan for NAVA
  • around Australia, presented 57 forums, public conversations, and art school lectures online and face to face.
  • launched the inaugural $20,000 Visual Arts Fellowships supported by Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund and continued to administer 8 other funding schemes for artists and curators to the value of over $170,000 supported by donors and governments.
  • introduced Organisation Membership and added 2 new discounted insurances for members to cover goods in transit and personal accident.
  • published a new online edition of the Code of Practice for the Professional Australian Visual Arts, Craft and Design Sector.
  • quoted and mentioned more than 110 times in mainstream media as the voice of the Australian visual arts sector.


  • conducted a major campaign against the Federal Government’s cuts to the arts budget and lack of an arts policy
  • wrote a submission and appeared as witness at the public hearing of the Senate Inquiry into the impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget decisions on the Arts
  • wrote a response to the draft National Programme for Excellence in the Arts
  • after 7 years of campaigning in partnership with the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE), The Australian Curriculum: The Arts was finally endorsed, providing a rationale and specifying curriculum content from Foundation to Year 10 for five artforms: Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music and Visual Arts
  • made a submission in response to the Victoria’s Creative Industries Strategy
  • in partnership with NCI and the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) presented Parallels – Journeys into Contemporary Making, an international craft and design 2-day conference
  • launched #NAVAideas webinar series supported by Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund
  • launched a Writers Award in partnership with Art Monthly Australia and MPavilion
  • secured funding for two Curator Scholarships supported by The Freedman Foundation


  • launched the National Craft Initiative’s Mapping the Australian Craft Sector research report.
  • launched completely redesigned new website containing extensive resources for the sector.
  • Represented Australia at the 5th International Association of Art (IAA) Asia Pacific Regional Conference held in Seoul, South Korea.
  • Lodged several submissions and policy papers including making the case for continuation of the artists’ resale royalty scheme, payment of artists’ fees according to industry standards, the ethics of private sector sponsorship, the impact on artists of online copyright infringement, invasions of privacy in the digital era, proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, the Personal Property Securities Act, developments with the national arts curriculum in schools and the impact of funding cuts on university art schools and TAFEs.
  • established the Carstairs Residency at the Bundanon Trust with support from a private donor.
  • secured funding for a bi-monthly webinar series from Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.
  • held the first Visual Arts Summit for Australia, Future/Forward, supported by the Australia Council and Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.


  • established the 3 year National Craft Initiative (NCI) in partnership with the Australian Craft and Design Centres (ACDC) funded by the Australia Council.
  • launched NAVA’s National Agenda for the Visual Arts at its 30th anniversary event at Parliament House Canberra in the presence of Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.
  • wrote eleven submissions in response to government inquiries and discussion documents included in relation to federal election policies, the national cultural policy, changes to the Australia Council Act, artists’ fees, positive and negative arts education proposals, reviews of copyright and the artists’ resale royalty scheme.


  • Provided government submissions and expert advice to key decision makers in relation to the needs of the small to medium arts organisations, the Review of the Australia Council, national arts curriculum for schools in partnership with NAAE, presented a petition to the Arts Minister re the payment of artists fees and worked on a national design policy with the Australian Design Alliance.
  • in partnership with COFA launched NAVA Connect program of on-line artist career development courses & the NAVA Synergy brokerage program for artists, both supported by Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.
  • established the Sainsbury Sculpture Grant supported by the estate of Madeline Olive Taylor.


  • introduced affordable insurance scheme for artists and other art professionals as part of NAVA Membership.
  • organised We Are Here, a 4 day major international event held for Artist Run Initiatives from around Australia in partnership with First Draft. Conference papers published in 2012.
  • ARIna website launched in partnership with Crawl, funded by the Australia Council.


  • the Artists’ Resale Royalty was legislated after over 20 years of campaigning by NAVA (from 2008 in alliance with other members of the Campaign for an Australian Resale Royalty).
  • managed the Curator Mentorship Initiative from 2010 - 12 on behalf of the Sidney Myer Fund.


  • founded the Australian Design Coalition launched at a gala event in 2010 at the Sydney Opera House as Australian Design Alliance with 10 (later 13) key representative national design organisations as directors.
  • launched new Theory in Practice (TIPS) series of 10 professional practice publications.
  • published the Art Censorship Guide written by Evan Williams and funded by Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.


  • completed 3 years’ research on the ‘Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct’ used to produce the Indigenous Art Code.
  • conducted Our Art, Our Art Industry Indigenous poster project with Desart and ANKAAA distributed in 2009.
  • launched website in partnership with 9 other peak national arts and art education organisations across all artforms.


  • visit to Canada by NAVA’s Executive Director at the invitation of sister organisation CARFAC resulting in a co-operation agreement and licensing of NAVA’s Code of Practice for adaptation to Canadian circumstances.


  • established Art & Australia/ANZ Private Bank Contemporary Arts Award (later Credit Suisse Private Bank).
  • Ignition: NAVA’s Prize for Professional Practice established nationally for art school graduating students.


  • After 8 years of negotiation, secured ATO Taxation Ruling: Income tax: carrying on business as a professional artist (TR 2005/1) which uses art industry standards to assess artists’ income tax entitlements.
  • undertook detailed research into the payment of fair artists’ fees by public galleries, exhibitions & events for loaned or commissioned artworks.
  • one of the leaders of a successful campaign to change Sedition clauses in the Anti-Terrorism Act 2005 which, in 2011 was replaced by ‘Urging Violence’ in the NationalSecurity Legislation Amendment Bill 2010.
  • published finding of research project The Big Picture: a Planning Matrix for the Visual Arts in partnership with the Department of Art History and Theory, University of Sydney with funding from ARC and Australia Council.


  • published Where There's a Will...: Estate Planning for Visual Artists with Arts Law & Australia Council.
  • formed the Visual Education Roundtable which secured Federal Government commitment to research First We See: the National Review of Visual Education, launched in 2008.


  • published the online Professional Practice Curriculum Unit for university art schools in partnership with the Australian Council for University Art and Design Schools (ACUADS)
  • established an on-line Business Services Directory.


  • NAVA succeeded in ensuring that the Myer Inquiry Report resulted in an increase of up to $12 million in funding for the sector through the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy; matched between federal and state/territory governments & continues to the present


  • after 4 years of research on the Visual Arts Industry Guidelines Research Project in partnership with the University of Sydney’s Power Institute of Art and Visual Culture and Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research & Training & Macquarie University’s Department of Economics, Art Gallery of NSW & Simpsons Solicitors, funded by the Australian Research Council and Australia Council, NAVA launched two publications:
  • The Code of Practice for the Professional Australian Visual Arts, Craft and Design Sector,setting best practice standards for the industry (in 2008 it was used as a model to produce a similar Code for Canada)
  • Ideas for Policy and Legislation (used to advocate ideas for the Myer Inquiry).
  • after 2 years of research launched Valuing Art, Respecting Culture: Protocols for Working with the Indigenous Australian Visual Arts and Craft Sector written by Doreen Mellor and Terri Janke.
  • NAVA formed the National Visual Arts, Craft and Design Network with representatives from all parts of the art industry as an advocacy and consultative group, which continues to the present.


  • successfully lobbied Federal Government to undertake the Inquiry into the Contemporary Visual Arts and Craft Sector (the Myer Inquiry).
  • Moral Rights legislation introduced as a result of NAVA’s successful lobbying in collaboration with other arts industry bodies.
  • secured amendments to the New Business Tax (Integrity Measures) Bill which ensured better conditions for artists.
  • Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship for Emerging Artists established.


  • published Getting Art There: an Artist’s Marketing Manual researched by Sue Hodge.
  • in partnership with Arts Law, published Estate Planning for Visual Artists.


  • co-founded ArtsPeak, the confederation of Australian national peak arts organisations which continues to the present.
  • took on Australian representation of the International Association of Art (UNESCO).
  • secured ARC funding for Visual Arts Industry Guidelines Research Project.
  • held Art of Sight, Art of Mind one day forum.


  • took on management of the newly established Windmill Trust Scholarship for Regional NSW Artists.
  • in partnership with Australia Commercial Galleries Association successfully averted privatisation of Artbank.
  • made submission to government inquiry to avert charges being applied to ‘heritage access’ (including public galleries).
  • researched establishment of a public art register for NSW Ministry for the Arts
  • Executive Director sponsored by the US Information Service to visit the US to research philanthropy and sponsorship ideas for application in Australia.


  • made submission to Australia Council inquiry proposing mechanisms to boost support for Australia craft.
  • secured funding for an Indigenous Arts Officer & established the National Indigenous Cultural Industry Network which lobbied successfully two years running to protect the level of ATSIC's arts funding support.
  • commissioned design of NAVA’s first website with funding from the Queens Trust Australia.


  • in response to NAVA’s lobbying, Mapping the Visual Arts and Crafts was researched and published by Arts Training Australia.
  • managed research on Professional and Industrial Representation of Visual Artists and Craftspersons commissioned by the Visual Arts and Craft Board of the AustraliaCouncil.


  • as part of the Creative Nation national cultural policy, $5 million allocated by the federal government to support the establishment of Viscopy the visual arts copyright agency, after 5 years research & intensive advocacy work by NAVA.


  • after 5 years of NAVA advocacy and advice, Austrade, established the Arts Industry Export Group to showcase Australian Art internationally.
  • NAVA was represented for 3 years on the Arts Industry Advisory Committee to ATSIC developing a national Indigenous cultural strategy.


  • NSW Marketing Grant Scheme for Artists established as a devolved grant from the NSW Ministry for the Arts - changed to the NSW Artists Grant in 2011.


  • published Outside the Gumtree: the Visual Artist in Multicultural Australia report on visual arts from non-English speaking background launched after 2 years research by Helen Andreoni for NAVA.
  • Who’s Who of Australian Visual Artists published for NAVA by D.W.Thorpe, with 2nd edition produced in 1993.
  • appointed by Commission for the Future to research integration of art and design in industry.


  • NAVA’s Pat Corrigan Artists Grant scheme established with matching support from Corrigan and the Visual Arts Board of Australia Council.
  • Future for Visual Artists and Craftspeople in NSW recommendations adopted by NSW Government.
  • produced the first edition of Money for Visual Artists with new editions published biennially to the present.


  • NAVA produced the Emerging Artists Report jointly with the Victorian Ministry for the Arts
  • Australian Visual Artists' Benevolent Fund established with a generous donation from artist Bert Flugelman.
  • NAVA started to lobby for the introduction of artists’ resale royalties.


  • NAVA commissioned by the Australia Council to produce Childcare at Work for artists.


  • in response to sector demand, the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) was established with support from the Visual Arts and Craft Board (VACB) of the Australia Council.