News & Opinion

New Australia Council research shows that art is relied upon by millions of Australians

Image: TOY by All the Queens Men. Photo by Ben Vos Productions, courtesy of Australia Council for the Arts.

Creative approach crucial to economic recovery

Image: Esther Anatolitis presenting at In these critical times. Photo by Daniel Gardeazabal, 2019.

Amplify your voice

Image: Esther Anatolitis and Minister for the Arts, Paul Fletcher MP at Arts Day on the Hill 2019. Photo by Irene Dowdy.

Public Memory: The role and curation of commemorative monuments and public art

Image: Luke Currie-Richardson. Photo by Jamie Morris.

Fact-checking the role of arts and culture in economic recovery

Image: Make or Break, Influence Operation (Campbelltown), 2019, curtains, LED tickers programmed with custom bots, office space, monitors, twitter feed, fortnightly ‘news hack’ sessions. Installation view at Campbelltown Arts Centre, 2019. Photo by Document Photography.

More than enough: Balancing art and motherhood

Aseel Tayah is a mother, an artist and an activist. In this article, Aseel discusses the challenges of balancing all of these roles before and during social isolation.

#CreateAustraliasFuture

Image: Giselle Stanborough, Cinopticon, Carriageworks. Photo by Mark Pokorny 2020.

Sacred Data

Poet, film maker and digital producer of Wiradjuri heritage, Jazz Money, examines the potential benefits and threats to Indigenous data sovereignty in increasingly digitised spaces.

Top priorities for NSW’s next minister for the arts

Following the resignation of the New South Wales arts minister* due to his infringements of COVID19 public health laws, NAVA outlines the key priorities facing the incoming minister.

It’s ghostlights, not spotlights, for the industry hardest hit by COVID19

Image: Dean Cross, I LOVE YOU, I'M SORRY, 2020. Installation view, Firstdraft. Photo by Zan Wimberley

Today's office: how to work from somewhere else

A guide to managing your home office including tips on managing your wellbeing, negotiating rent relief, and tracking expenses that are tax deductible.

Art creates the future

Image: Luke John Matthew Arnold, Don't Cancel Creativity, 2020. Digital illustration.

Key levers in arts policy: the vexed question of operational funding

Lucas Ihlein, "The Audit Itself (so far)", created as part of "Environmental Audit", MCA, 2010. Chalk drawing.

Take local action for national impact

Image: Peter Drew AUSSIE posters. Photo by Wade Whitington.

New models for new times

Image: Karla Dickens Mother's little helper, 2019. Installation view, Three Views, curated by Djon Mundine, historic Amoured Casemates, Georges Head, Mosman Art Gallery January 2020. Photo by Tim Connolly.

NAVA's submission: Religious Freedom Bills

Read NAVA's submission to the Religious Freedom Bills – Second Exposure Drafts, we welcome you to use this as a starting point for yours. Deadline 31 January 2020.

What’s in a name change? The invisibility of the arts to the national agenda

Join the discussion using #invisiblearts and let your local member know what the national visibility of the arts means to you. 

End of the year, end of the decade

Image: Deborah Kelly 'My Sydney Summer' (2019 edit). Digital photomontage, size variable.

ARIs: What's Next for Artist Led Action?

(L-R) Hayley Pigram (Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative), Olivia Koh (recess), Robbie Handcock (play_station), Liam James (Sawtooth and Constance), Justine Youssef (NAVA and Pari) at Studio 65, Hobart. Photo by Lucy Parakhina.

Developing Arts Criticism Review

Reflecting on NAVA's recent conversation on developing visual arts criticism in Australia. 

Photo by Gianna Hayes.

Education, professional development and lifelong learning

Image: Esther Anatolitis at NAVA's roundtable discussion on commissioning art in public space, RMIT, Melbourne 2018. Photo by Daniel Gardeazabal.

Artists respond to the climate crisis

NAVA asked several artists whose work deals directly and indirectly with the climate crisis to share their thoughts and ideas for our sector.

Fair practice, fair pay, fair go

With the launch of the draft Pay Standards for Artists and Arts Workers for NAVA's revised Code of Practice, questions are being asked about what's fair?

What comes after Arts Day on the Hill?

Your personal commitment to build a relationship with an MP.

Let's Do This

This week we’ve been in Canberra resetting the national arts conversation and forming some important new relationships – and, goodness me, it’s been a big week.

Change the Conversation From Surviving to Thriving

Bronwyn Bancroft, Time marches on, 2010 (cropped), mixed media. Courtesy of the artist and the Australian War Memorial.

Cultural Authority and Consultation

When seeking to engage with First Nations cultural heritage on any project, it should be expected that you consult with the appropriate cultural authority at each stage of research, development and production.

Exhale.

After the massive month we’ve all just been through, take the time to reflect on you this month. The season is cool and rewards cosy self-care. It’s so important. 

Practicing Self-Care in the Arts

This guide provides some basic information and tips for practising self-care and maintaining good mental health.

Tips to Making a Genuine Commitment to First Nations and People of Colour in the Arts

Illustration by Emily Johnson.

Artistic courage

With the federal election coming up on Saturday 18 May, NAVA is calling on all parties to Invest in Artistic Courage

The federal budget: it just doesn’t add up

Art and Economics

Bek Conroy, Dating an Economist, 2015. Luminary Arts, St Louis Missouri, USA. Credit: Brea McAnally

More Powerful Together

Image: Salote Tawale with Get to Work, as part of Making History by Barbara Cleveland (2016) commissioned for the 20th Biennale of Sydney The future is already here ­– it’s just not evenly distributed. Photo by Jessica Maurer.

Hopes, vision and fears

APHIDS co-directors: Mish Grigor, Eugenia Lim and Lara Thoms on their hopes, visions and fears in this election year, and their intent on working together as a reaction against a singular vision.

2019 in the arts: Get ready for a big year

Image: 'Grandstanding: A reconfigurable future' at MPavilion 2017. Photo by Bec Capp.

A Government of Artists

Image: Deep Soulful Sweats by Rebecca Jensen, Sarah Aiken, Natalie Abbott & Janine Proost, Next Wave Festival 2014. Image by Sarah Walker.

Arts sector calls for new Artistic Investment Framework to rethink and replace Major Performing Arts Framework

Sector organisations from across Australia are calling for a rethink of the Major Performing Arts Framework currently under review, following the recent close of submissions towards a national consultation

2018 Reflections

Esther Anatolitis reflects on NAVA's year of advocacy and campaign work. Photo by Tanja Bruckner.

NAVA calls for new Artistic Investment Framework to replace Major Performing Arts Framework

The National Association for the Visual Arts today calls for the establishment of a new Artistic Investment Framework to replace the Major Performing Arts Framework currently under review. 

Ambitious and Fair

What would it mean to be part of a contemporary arts sector that’s ambitious and fair?

ARIs setting the bar by paying artists

This month we’re focusing on what it means to be both Ambitious and Fair in the way we work in this industry. What are the sacrifices we’ve made and how are we working toward a thriving and supportive industry?

Strengthening the status of the artist

Image by Zandi Dandizette for CARFAC National.

Let's Champion Regional Arts

This month – with Artlands Victoria at its heart, and Artstate Bathurst following early in November – we’re focusing on regional arts and regional artists.

A Code that Champions Best Practice

Ensuring that national best practice standards are well understood has become a matter of urgency.

Photo: Zan Wimberley

Buyer's Bias

Let’s talk about conscious and unconscious bias when buying at the art fair. Do you make a conscious effort to support marginalised or under represented artists? If you haven’t decided to, then why?

Black Art

Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman, Nayuka Gorrie draws on Beyoncé and Jay Z's new album to question the art of 'making it', for black bodies in white spaces.

An investment in the public good

What does the future hold for art in the public space? Who or what is the public? And how do we understand the relationship between art and the public good?

Towards national standards for art in the public space

The overwhelming majority of disputes that seek NAVA’s support are about public art projects. 

A handy guide to reading government budget documents

NAVA has asked me to write a handy guide to reading government budget documents. So, here goes. 

The Budget as Cultural Text

This month, we ask, how best to read the Budget as a cultural text?

On Soda_Jerk's TERROR NULLIUS

The history of humanity is not the telling of stories but their retelling: perversely, the retelling of a story can have considerably more power than its incarnation, its first telling or its truth.

Owning the right to your own work

This month we are contributing to a lot of conversations about copyright, intellectual property and our right to our own work.

Back Your Own Horse

NAVA strongly supports ambitious philanthropy that encourages artists to share in that ambition – extending it further than its friends, supporters and funders could possibly have imagined. 

Gender Equity - March 2018

It’s International Women’s Day this month – and that means a whole month of focus on gender equity at NAVA. 

2017 Reflections

Esther Anatolitis reflects on strong themes in NAVA’s 2017 advocacy and the wider critical public issues.

HOBIENNALE

Conversations and take aways for NAVA from the recent HOBIENNALE festival.

NAVA Book Club

NAVA’s Book Club, as part of Artspace Sydney’s Volume 2017 I Another Book Fair, invited people to connect and discuss Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols, policies and rights.

Choose Love Vote Yes

In response to the Liberal Governments decision to hold a national postal survey on marriage equality, over 40,000 people rallied in Sydney on Sept 10 in support on equal rights for the LGBTIQ+ community. Jenny Leong MP addressed the rally on behalf of The Greens.

Debates we don't need to have

NAVA asked several artists dealing both directly and indirectly with issues around queer identity and equality in their work to share their experiences of the Australian Marriage Survey.

11th Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair

DAAF was held 11-13 August and showcased the work of over 50 art centres from across Australia. Executive Director, Claire Summers, shares the highlights of this year’s fair.

On Craft Cubed

Craft Cubed Festival is an annual celebration of the handmade and the biggest coming together of the craft and design sectors of its kind in Australia.

Taxing Prize Money

One of NAVA's goals is getting it legislated that prize money to professional artists be tax exempt. We discuss the issue with a number of award winning artists and arts accountants.

Art Prizes in Australia

Artist Michael Zavros discusses the importance of art prizes and the impact that they can have on an artists' career.

DGR Reforms - Hands Off Advocacy

Proposed reforms outline a new streamlined application process for organisations, but threaten to silence advocacy and campaign work.

Practical Politics

Cherie McNair, Director & CEO Australian Centre for Photography (ACP) asks what would it take to make paying artists a reality?

The Grey Areas

NAVA consulted with a number of lawyers and superannuation experts to resolve the grey areas of when superannuation contributions should be paid for artists working in galleries or other arts organisations in various capacities.

US fair use system not so fair

From the archives

In September 1995, Tamara Winikoff introduced herself as NAVA's new Executive Director.

The Power of the Collective

NAVA's Deputy Director, Brianna Munting discusses industrial relations in the visual arts.

From the archives

For this month’s edition of Art Wires, we dug into NAVA’s archives on the issue of industrial representation for visual artists.

To Fee or Not to Fee

Tamara Winikoff reports from the recent Brisbane Fair Pay for Artists consultation roundtable in the next phase of NAVA's campaign.

The economics of art

No More With Less

Media Release

S2M Case Study - Fontanelle

S2M Case Study - Design Tasmania

$5 million for Artists

NAVA's latest advocacy campaign calling for a new $5million government allocation for artist fees.

For the Public Good

The Greens Arts Policy

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young on the value of artists and the programs that would support artists' incomes and help to foster their careers.

Copyright in Danger of Going Seriously Wrong

Media Release

Navigating the Summer

Jess Day selects the best of exhibitions around the country this summer.

Ding Dong Merrily on High

On the current state of the arts in Australia and the takeaways for 2017.

Playing Off the Field

Sticky Culture

Risk in the Regional Context

ARTLANDS Dubbo

Curating Power

Tamara Winikoff on the important role of the curator in leading the critical conversations and debates of our times.

Infrastructural Activism

Art theorist and historian Professor Terry Smith on the role of the activist curator.

Tenuous Freedoms

If you’re under the illusion that we have freedom of expression in Australia, think again. Gender, race and politics are a volatile mix. For this issue of Art Wires, NAVA asked for the observations of several artists whose work could be considered controversial.

The Public Body .01

THE PUBLIC BODY .01 currently showing at Artspace, explores contemporary representations of the the naked and/or sexualised body.
Co-curator Talia Linz discusses the assessment of risk in context of this exhibition.

It’s hard being a grown up

How to keep creating?

Cuts and Censorship

Save SCA

Cutting the core of our democracy

The CSIRO Hunger Games

#AusVotesArts

Social security for artists

David Pledger on the case of establishing a living wage for artists.

Art Changes Lives

The Great Peak Bodies Massacre

Why have four out of the five national peak artform organisations just had their funding discontinued by the Australia Council (in dance, literature, music and visual arts)? I’ll tease out several possible answers to this question. But first, let’s have a look at what these bodies do.

We’re Not Going Gently

Desart on Aboriginal Art Centres

The Endurance of Art Publications

Boxcopy: Run by Artists, for Artists

Canberra Glassworks' Maker Community

Small to Mediums in CAOs

Crafting Change

With the recent release of the publication Agenda for Australian Craft and Design Tamara Winikoff discusses the perception of craft in recent years, a brief rundown of the National Craft Initiative and steps to ensure the future of a sustainable craft sector in Australia.

Paint the Wildwood

Treahna Hamm comments on the importance of craft and the continuation of the traditional in contemporary Indigenous cultures.

Signature Style: The artist's name in the exposure economy of contemporary art

Elvis Richardson on the online research behind The CoUNTess report and the representation of female artists in Australian arts media. Read more.

Women in Australian Art

Coinciding with the recent publication of The CoUNTess report on International Women's Day, Tamara Winikoff writes on a brief history of women's art collectives and movements in Australia. The CoUNTess report has been funded by The Cruthers Art Foundation and is supported by NAVA.

Gendered decision making?

Esther Anatolitis on the accountability of decision makers at Australia's major art institutions. 

What's happening to Australia's art schools? 

There was a time when art schools were regarded as a thrilling hotbed of experimentation, bohemianism and great new anarchic ideas. But the gradual funding squeeze and the Dawkins reforms around the early 90s saw them moved under the umbrella of the universities and required to be more business like and set ‘performance targets’. What has been the consequence?

The artist as disruptor

Early in my practice I saw the arts as an effective vehicle to have impact beyond the gallery, theatre and performance space so I started to negotiate a very fine balance between making art that exists for my own pleasure and making art that engages with people and place in an ethical way.

Catcalling bad behaviour

Dr Jacqueline Millner on the importance of publicly calling out bad behaviour, to make sexism, rather than being female, shameful. 

The Art of Elections

As 2016 cranks into gear attention turns to the federal election and what it will mean for the arts in Australia.

In 2015 the arts sector showed it has real political muscle. The sector gained a lot of respect and some important new allies. How should we focus this power to the greatest benefit in an election year? What should be our priorities and strategies?

Localism in the top end

In Darwin it’s easy to consider ‘localism’ in an Aboriginal sense: of its own locality on Larrakia land and the vast network of local language groups and intercultural exchange stretching across the Top End and desert regions. It’s also easy to consider ‘localism’ in a northerly sense – the city’s paradoxical positioning as both a northern line of defence and gateway to Asia.

The Year in Rhyme - 2015

A wrap up of 2015 for the small to medium arts sector in limerick form.

Craft + Localism

With the latest change in season comes a time for many people to reflect on ways of living. For makers, it’s often a time to look inwards to practice. For communities, it’s an opportunity to look locally.

Finding Harmony in Diversity towards a National Consensus

With renewed global urgency to find harmony in diversity, peace can only come about where all voices at the margins can be expressed, heard and valued. The place to entrench freedom of expression is in an inclusive vision about our shared identity. Yet Australia has had only two national cultural policies in the last 25 years, Creative Nation and Creative Australia. Incoming governments threw both out, leaving long periods of no policy direction whatsoever.

Greater than the sum of the parts: cultural funding and the power of diversity

Cultural diversity underpins so much of value in Australia. It creates an exciting country which is enjoyable to live in. It also ensures innovation flourishes, because where cultures intersect differing world-views come into contact and fixed ideas and old ways of doing things are challenged.

A Tale of Two Cities: the case for equity

In February this year, the NSW Premier and Minister for the Arts launched a new arts funding package for Western Sydney. A number of commitments focused on Parramatta including $10 million to develop a business case to relocate the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta. Only an additional $7.5 million over four years was allocated to support artists and organisations across the remainder of Greater Western Sydney.

Diversity is the Same but Different

Since the theme for this Art Wires is ‘diversity’ I am thinking of how it might apply to the matter which has been preoccupying the art world and NAVA for the last six months. The previous Arts Minister, George Brandis tried to convince us that diversity of government funding sources was a good thing and was one of the reasons he had created the National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA). However, resistance built to what the sector suspected was instead going to be another way of diverting yet more resources to privilege the major performing arts companies, the polar opposite of diversity. Brandis seemed to be of the opinion that excellence was their prerogative and the rest were mediocre.

The Australian - 28th October 2026 – Arts Reporter

In line with her soon to be released Platform Paper no. 45, cultural strategist and co-director of Positive Solutions, Cathy Hunt projects ten years into the future and proposes how strategic cultural policy made today could have extraordinary ripple effects into the future for both artists and arts organisations.

Utopia and how to get there

In trying to answer the question ‘what does Utopia look like?’ The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA)’s dream was, and still is, that in time Australia will be recognised internationally as one of the great arts nations.

Could we get an artist to be our Prime Minister?

We can’t get our Prime Minister to be Arts Minister, but could we get an artist to be our Prime Minister? That would make for a very different kind of Utopia. Poland, Iran, Albania, Britain, they’ve all done it. Why not Australia? And what better time than now? Our new PM pines for an Australia that is agile, innovative and creative.

Utopia - what do you wish for?

We asked representatives across different sectors to start a discussion on perspectives for the future.
You can contribute your thoughts and your vision to the prompt: Utopia - what do you wish for by emailing a paragraph (100-150 words) to ywu@visualarts.net.au

Art Fairs are the New Black

Following the blow dealt to the art market by the global financial crisis in 2008, it has been slow in recovery but is undergoing significant shifts. Many commercial galleries have closed, but new models for selling have emerged. Like biennales, art fairs are proliferating around the world. They are the emergent key marketplace for showcasing artwork for sale and diversifying the collector base. Sydney has just had a spate of simultaneous art fairs but all very different from one another. In their wake, it is good to reflect on the different models they offered.

Sydney Contemporary Comes of Age

Chloé Wolifson reports on the success of this year's fair, the experience of several participating galleries and its popularity with collectors and the general public.

On the Current Health of Commercial Galleries

In a series of voxpop interviews at Sydney Contemporary we asked several gallerists for their perspective on the state of the commercial gallery scene.

What is needed to foster Australian craft and design?

In grappling with this challenge, great ideas have emerged out of conversations amongst some really accomplished Australian practitioners, curators, writers and academics. These discussions were precipitated by the Women in Design colloquium organised in July by Design Tasmania and held in Launceston, Tasmania.

Framing Design

Simone LeAmon, Hugh Williamson Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture, the National Gallery Victoria writes on the importance of design, it's influence on cultural practice and production, and the importance of cultural institutions in providing a platform to critique and champion design.

In the Midst of Chaos One Good Thing

If nothing else, one good thing to come out of the artquake caused by the funding cuts in the last two Federal Budgets, is the coalescing of the arts sector into a formidable machine. There has been a clear demonstration that when sufficiently pushed, the arts can speak with one voice. The more than 2260 submissions to the Senate Inquiry into the arts cuts was an amazing show of strength of conviction by the arts community and its supporters, audiences and participants of all kinds.

The future of arts advocacy

For Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC) and the communities they engage with, the arts has always been a vehicle for social justice. Jade Lillie, Director & CEO of FCAC on the future of arts advocacy.

Brandis out of touch

Yesterday, federal Arts Minister Senator George Brandis demonstrated his disdain for the broader arts sector when he chose to ignore an invitation to meet with 65 independents artists and representatives of arts organisations who had travelled from every state and territory to meet with members of all three main political parties at Parliament House in Canberra.

The Commonwealth Arts Budget Fallout

Arts activists this week are celebrating the success of the call for a Senate Inquiry by ArtsPeak (the confederation of national peak arts organisations). Labor and the Greens proposed the motion in the Senate on 16 June and were supported by all crossbenchers. The Inquiry will be conducted by the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Reference Committee for report by 15th September.

The Possibilities of Art Money

This month NAVA's Executive Director, Tamara Winikoff discusses the various ways artist generate income from their practice, the art market, legislation in favour of artists, and the recent Art Money initiative.

Artists and the City

NAVA Executive Director Tamara Winikoff discusses the use of artists to provide vitality and excitement in public spaces and the problems that arise in the process of commissioning public art projects.

Artists, you are the brand

NAVA Executive Director Tamara Winikoff delves into the risks and rewards of maintaining a public profile as an artist and the skills needed to cultivate your own brand.

Artists Rights International

Working towards the recognition of artists' professional status is a worldwide issue. Executive Director Tamara Winikoff discusses the work being done overseas and the repercussions for Australia.

Top things list time

As we drag ourselves lethargically back to the arts coalface, where do our thoughts wander as we say goodbye to late rising, leisurely coffees/beers with mates and sunburn, sand in the mouth days at the beach? This time of year is special. It's top numbers time as we look back and forward to identify the best and worst of everything.

A crafty Christmas

When standing in front of a beautifully crafted thing, do you find yourself mentally trying to make it yourself? Doesn't it make your heart sing even if you fall back defeated and just give up and buy it? And anyway it's Christmas, a time of indulgences. However, as lovers of beautiful things we need to be conscious that behind the object lies a life of dedication to a practice that can be both hugely rewarding but also precarious.

​A consequential national visual arts summit?

As we emerge from the whirlwind that was 'Future/Forward: the National Visual Arts Summit', NAVA is reflecting on how well our objectives were achieved and what the participants thought of it. During the event, the Twittersphere was electric with comment but we know that the real value will be if it continues to resonate and have impact long after it's over.

​What’s Normal in the Visual Arts?

In the tidal wave of change, what is becoming the new 'normal' in the visual arts?

​Arts Stats Dumped

Until now art statistics have provided essential information to governments and the sector itself. But no longer.

For artists is avoiding disaster just too hard?

How to protect yourself if your gallery goes bankrupt.

NAVA members

Visual Arts Budget Wrap

We can expect some belt tightening in the visual arts for the next four years. The recent federal budget announcements for our sector are not good.

NAVA members

Artist Activism

Are we on the brink of seeing the Australia Council make it a requirement of funding to have support from the business sector? This could become a new battleground for many arts organisations and artists resisting the imposition of a power partnership between the state and business.

NAVA members

My New Year’s Art Resolutions

I'm staring at the blank slate of a new year and resolving what I must do to make this the best arts year ever…..