Sit For An Artist

NAVA launches a new campaign, 'Sit For An Artist' urging everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated to support Australia’s creative recovery.

The visual arts sector is in crisis. Australian artists and arts workers have been impacted by lockdowns across the country with their exhibitions and commissions cancelled.

NAVA’s 'Sit For An Artist' campaign has been created in response to deep concerns about the long-term impacts of the pandemic and lockdowns on visual artists, galleries, organisations and arts workers. The 'Sit For An Artist' campaign is a play on the age-old concept of sitting for an artist for a portrait, but this time NAVA is asking Australians to sit for a COVID vaccination.

Fronting the campaign, which was filmed at the National Art School in Sydney, are Thea Perkins, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Wendy Sharpe and Dean Cross.

State of the visual arts

Recent research undertaken by NAVA* revealed that 81% of visual artists earned less than $25,000 in the 2020-21 financial year, while 50% reported an income decline of up to 100 per cent. Just 21% of visual artists were eligible to receive JobSeeker payments in 2020-21.

With 44% of visual artists generating their income from art sales, gallery closures have had a huge impact on livelihoods, with sales falling 72%. Of those working in arts organisations, 44% reported reduced working hours, 38% lost contracts and 73% of arts organisations across the country experienced exhibition cancellations or postponements. The impact on mental health has been devastating, with 49% of artists and 51% of art workers reporting significant or extreme impact.

Infographic with above survey findings

*SOURCE: Pulse Survey data for 2020-21. 1224 artists, arts workers and arts managers.

Support the campaign

Do your bit for Australia’s visual arts sector by supporting the 'Sit For An Artist' campaign. 

Find information on the Australian Government Department of Health website about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, how to protect yourself and your family, where and when you can get vaccinated, and the current situation in Australia.

Download and share our assets on social media using the hashtag #SitForAnArtist. You may wish to use our messaging as a guide. Don’t forget to tag NAVA on Instagram @nava_visualarts, Facebook @NAVA.VisualArt, and Twitter @NAVAvisualarts

Key Messages

  • NAVA launches a new campaign, #SitForAnArtist, urging everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated to support Australia’s creative recovery.
  • The visual arts sector is in crisis. Australian artists and arts workers have been impacted by lockdowns across the country with their exhibitions and commissions cancelled.
  • 50% of visual artists reported an income decline of up to 100%.
  • Art making has dropped by nearly 40% as artists have had to find work in other areas to survive and over half of our sector is concerned about the future.
  • 73% of arts organisations experienced exhibition cancellations or postponements.
  • Only 21% of visual artists were eligible to receive JobSeeker payments in 2020-21.
  • Getting to an 80% vaccination rate and opening borders is an important first step for the visual arts opening up once more.
  • Do your bit for Australia’s visual arts sector by supporting 'Sit For An Artist'.
  • To find out more go to nava.net.au
Three vertical images in art studio settings, a person in each one sitting with their shirt sleeve raised, a nurse is to the right hand side of each frame where a facesheild, disposable mask and a white lab coat. #SitForAnArtist floats over each image

NAVA has outlined three urgent measures to ensure hard-hit artists and arts workers have access to vital financial support in this time of economic crises and to build resilience and confidence for the sector.

  1. Provide crisis funding for the visual arts. To date $40 million has been allocated to music charity Support Act initially for the music sector, but opened to live performing arts in August 2021. NAVA calls for this support to be made available to the visual art sector or a proportionate allocation to be made to NAVA’s Artists’ Benevolent Fund. Additionally, NAVA calls on the state and territory governments to amplify this commitment with allocations for each jurisdiction.
  2. Introduce a business interruption insurance scheme, underwritten by the government, to guarantee payments to artists and employees following the cancellation or closure of an exhibition or event due to COVID-19 public health restrictions ensuring payments to artists are guaranteed.
  3. Invest in a national commissioning and new work fund targeted at the visual arts sector without a prescribed event or outcome. 

Read NAVA’s Media Release – Visual arts sector urgently requires crisis funding for more information.

Mimi Crowe on ABC TV News Channel, 12 October 2021

#SitForAnArtist champions sector recovery, ArtsHub, 1 October 2021

Artsday / Campaign to help struggling artists, Canberra CityNews, 28 September 2021

Mimi Crowe on Triple R 102.7FM, 23 September 2021

“A crisis like no other”: Artists lead calls for vaccination, Sydney Morning Herald, 22 September 2021

‘There’s no other way’: Daniel Andrews urges Victorians to stay the course, The New Daily, 22 September 2021 

Artists' jab plea to help ailing sector, Canberra Times, 22 September 2021

Artist leads vaccination call, Sydney News Today, 22 September 2021

Sit For An Artist vaccination campaign, AdNews, 22 September 2021

Sit For An Artist Campaign Giving Visual Artists a Shot at Recovery, NAVA Media Release, 22 September 2021

Acknowledgements

NAVA expresses its sincere thanks to the artists, organisations and individuals who provided support for this campaign including the Australia Council for the Arts and National Art School.

Artists: Thea Perkins, Dean Cross, Wendy Sharpe, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran
Creative Agency: Atypical
Creative: Tim Chenery
Creative: David Barker
Production Company: Playground / ArtVid
Director/DOP: David Barker
Producer: Nick Garner
Editor: Marianne Khoo
Sound Production: Pete Jones @ RanRun
Photographer: Lauren Orrell, Lauren O Photography
Venue: National Art School
Survey: Andrew Reilly, Sustainable Value

The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) acknowledges and pays respects to the Gadigal peoples of the Eora Nation where this campaign was filmed and all Custodians of Country throughout all lands, waters and territories. We pay our respects to the Elders past, present and future. Sovereignty was never ceded.

Logos for Australia Council, National Art School, Art/Vid, Atypical, and NAVA