National Day of Arts Action Launch

Media Release

On Wednesday 15th the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) will be holding a media conference at the MCA from 9.30am to 10.30am. A panel of renowned Australian arts people will speak about the importance of the arts to Australia to launch the National Day of Action for the Arts to take place around the country on Friday 17th June.

At the media conference, a panel of 6 high profile speakers from the Australian arts will give 5 minute talks on why the arts needs to be on the agenda of all political parties and what they contribute to the social, cultural and economic well-being of the community. Speakers at the media conference will be:

- Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, Director of MCA

- Tamara Winikoff OAM, Executive Director of NAVA

- Janet Laurence artist

- Abdul Abdullah, artist

- Patrick McIntyre, Executive Director, Sydney Theatre Company

On the Day of Action and for the two following weeks leading to up the election, in the visual arts the following will be happening:

- an artists’ demonstration will be held outside Malcolm Turnbull’s office in Sydney.

- artists will give talks and make artworks about the value of the arts to Australia;

- postcards will be handed to visitors to national and state galleries, contemporary art spaces, university galleries, commercial galleries and art schools asking them to take action.

- audiences and art lovers across all art forms will be encouraged to sign a petition and post on social media about their support for the arts, sending images, podcasts, photos and letters to politicians from all political parties, speaking to their local federal member and voting for the candidates with the best arts policies on July 2.

Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, Director of the MCA said,” All of us working in the arts know the impact that they have on people’s lives. Over 11m people a year visit galleries and museums - we are calling on all our supporters to stand up for the arts and make their voice heard. “

Tamara Winikoff OAM, Executive Director of NAVA said, “The arts are part of everyone’s life. They are as essential to our intellectual and emotional well-being as health care and education. If we are talking jobs and growth, the creative industries contribute $50 billion to our economy and employ more people than agriculture, construction or mining. It needs to be well and truly high up on the election agenda. On the National Day of Action for the Arts we will be reminding people that voting is an art.”

Well known artist, Janet Laurence said,” We produce imaginative, energetic, productive artists who deserve to be part of a wider world and international dialogue. For this we need government that both supports the arts and expresses it loudly, to inspire the public to value and love art. We need art in this land now more than ever. "

Michael Dagostino, Director of Campbelltown Arts Centre said, “Art is not elitist, we interact with art every day. It's on our TVs, our radios and our walls in our offices and homes. Our kids love creating and all parents know how important it is for them to be involved in Art. Art tells the Australian story, its complexities and make us think about who we are.”

The visual and performing arts sectors have joined together to bring the issue of how we should value the arts to the attention of all politicians and the voting public. Theatres around the country will be encouraging their audiences to show their support.

Patrick McIntyre, Executive Director of Sydney Theatre Company said, "We need to understand ourselves better when it comes to the arts. Statistics reveal that Australians from all walks of life are highly engaged in the arts, both as makers of art and enjoyers of art. But this stubbornly refuses to enter our public mythmaking and national identity, creating the false impression that there are no votes in the arts. There are plenty of votes in the arts. We need to make this support known so that a strong, bi-partisan political commitment to cultural investment is ensured for the coming generations."

The media conference will take place in the MCA Lecture Theatre, Level 2, MCA, 140 George St. The Rocks, Sydney NSW 2000.

For media enquiries please contact:

Tamara Winikoff OAM, Executive Director, NAVA 0411 162 156

Yu Ye Wu, Marketing & Publicity Coordinator, NAVA 02 9368 1900