National Day of Action 17 June 2016

In response to the recent devastating Australia Council funding results, the lack of consultation around changes to arms length funding and lack of a Coalition arts policy or inclusion of the arts in the 'innovation agenda', the arts sector called a National Day of Action on 17 June 2016.


In the three years since the last election the federal government has cut a staggering $300 million from arts, screen, gaming, and major cultural institutions, resulting in an unprecedented destabilisation of the arts and cultural sector with the sector now in crisis.

Peak arts bodies, the small to medium sector and The Protagonists, a group of independent artists, together called a National Day of Action on Friday 17 June. On this day—across all art forms—we called for collective action, a demonstration of solidarity from artists, organisations and arts lovers across Australia.

NAVA supported these actions and facilitated the involvement of the major galleries, contemporary art and craft spaces, regional and university galleries and museums, commercial galleries, art schools and independent artists and other art professionals around the country, as well as art lovers who share our concerns.

Whether you are an artist, a producer, a performer, an organisation or especially if you just love the arts, now is the time to have your say, to make sure your voice is heard and ensure that the arts remain central to Australia’s future. The time to act is now. It is not too late to take action.

Sign the petition

Art changes lives. Show your support and sign this petition.

Art Changes Lives

On the National Day of Action for the Arts the NAVA team invited visitors at the MCA to share their own thoughts about why the arts is important to them. Some chose to send a direct message to the Arts Minister with messages of solidarity for the arts sector. Here's what they said:

In the Media

National Day of Action for the arts press launch

Image: National Day of Action for the arts press launch. L-R: Michael Rolfe (CEO, MGNSW), Susan Norrie (artist), Michael Snelling (Director, National Art School), Patrick McIntyre (Executive Director, Sydney Theatre Company), Janet Laurence (artist), Tamara Winikoff OAM (Executive Director, NAVA), Abdul Abdullah (artist), Michelle Newton (Deputy Director, Artspace), Brenna Hobson (Executive Director, Belvoir) and Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE (Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia). Photograph: Anna Kučera

Week of 27 June

Recent funding cuts to the arts cause deep wounds, Art Almanac, 30 June 2016

Australian Arts Community Protests $224 Million Cut to Federal Arts Budget, ArtForum, 29 June 2016

Claire Voon, Australian Arts Community Campaigns Against Federal Budget Cuts, Hyperallergic, 28 June 2016

Editorial: A vote for Coalition is a vote against the arts, Daily Review, 29 June 2016

Matthew Westwood, Political parties united in their funding support for the arts, The Australian, 28 June 2016

Tony Moore, Turnbull's 'innovation boom' is not possible without the Arts says Senate Candidate, My Sunshine Coast, 26 June 2016

Live Performance Australia Slams Turnbull over Q&A Answers, Daily Review, 23 June 2016

Week of 20 June

Matthew Westwood, Live Performance Australia disputes Turnbull funding claim on Q&A, The Australian, 23 June

Suzy Keen, SA arts advocates ramp up political campaign, InDaily, 22 June 2016

Christian Morrow, EDITORIAL: Stand with the arts in our community, Byron Shire News, 22 Jun 2016

Spencer Howson, The arts in the federal election spotlight thanks to Katie Noonan, ABC, 21 June 2016

Richard Watts, PM flubs arts question on Q&A, ArtsHub, 21 June 2016

Week of 13 June

Desirée Savage, Merrigong Theatre joins #istandwiththearts campaign, Illawarra Mercury, 18 June 2016

National Arts Day of Action: latest happenings, ArtsHub, 17 June

Art Changes Lives. Here's why we need to fund the arts, FBI radio, 17 June

Michaela Boland, Federal election 2016: actors to mobilise against cuts, The Australian, 17 June 2016

Richard Watts, Smaller parties come to the arts policy party, ArtsHub, 17 June 2016

Dee Jefferson, Actors stand up for the arts, TimeOut Sydney, 17 June 2016

Heather McNab, Hugo Weaving, Robyn Nevin and Kate Mulvany don’t want a standing ovation — they want to take a stand against cuts, CENtRAL, 16 June 2016

Matthew Westwood, Arts groups, artists rally against funding cuts, The Australian, 16 June 2016

Stephen Bevis, Artists crash the election party, The West Australian, 16 June 2016

Debbie Cuthbertson and Andrew Taylor, Election 2016: National day of action kicks off campaign against 'ritual sacrifice of the arts, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 June

Debbie Cuthbertson, Federal Election 2016: Nationals vow $10m for new Shepparton Art Museum amid battle with Liberals, The Age, 16 June 2016

Andrew Taylor, Election 2016: Arts sector launches National Day of Arts Action campaign, Sydney Morning Herald, 15 June

Steph Harmon, National day of action: art and theatre join forces to make culture an election issue, The Guardian, 15 June

Dee Jefferson, Love the arts? Prove it this Friday, TimeOut Sydney, 15 June

Richard Watts, National day of action to be held this Friday, ArtsHub, 15 June

Art Almanac, National Day of Action – Support the Arts, 15 June

For the most up to date media you can also follow us on Facebook here.

On social media

It was great to see lots of social media activity before, during and after the Day of Action. On Friday 17th, hashtag #Istandwiththearts trended on Twitter, and also went viral on Facebook with over 85,000 talking about it, and using the hashtag. On Instagram over 2,500 posts have appeared. Politicians also tweeted and acknowledged the Day of Action including Labor's Mark Dreyfus MP, the Greens' Adam Bandt MP and Senator Scott Ludlam, and Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore.

Clover Moore I stand with the arts
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran No Vision for the Arts
Roslyn Oxley Value Artists
Day of action outside Malcolm Turnbull's office
ABC Arts I stand with the arts
CCAS I stand with the arts
Jess Scully Keep Australia Creative
FBI radio I stand with the arts
Senator Scott Ludlam I stand with the arts
Adam Bandt - Artists entertain, challenge and inspire us and are at the core of our cultural life
Fenella Kerneborne Art changes lives
Julia Zemiro Art changes lives
Mark Dreyfus I stand with the arts
MCA Australia I stand with the arts
Sydney Festival  I stand with the arts

Write letters

NAVA, alongside 65 other small-to-medium (S2M) organisations were defunded by the Australia Council in the 2016 round of four year funding. These key organisations are vital to the health of the arts ecology and the impact will be felt far and wide.

Write a letter of support for the arts to

- your Senate representative and

- your local member

- Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister for the Arts