Right now our creatives face an uncertain future – and we face a world without art. With tours, festivals and shows cancelled indefinitely, music manager and industry icon Jen Fontaine shares her tips for turning the lights back on for our local talent.
There are many organisations rallying behind Australian artists and they need our help. If you have funds to spare, please donate to these worthy charities supporting those struggling financially and emotionally, including Support Act, Actors Benevolent Fund, and also any Patreon funds for local comedians, writers, illustrators, filmmakers, podcasters and co.
Keep Your Ticket
If you’ve bought tickets in advance to see a band, ballet performance, theatre production or comedy show, try to budget to support the artist or festival, instead of opting for a refund. These funds will go a long way to ensuring our artists and art workers can make a comeback – a win for both them and us.
Listen Up and Tune In
There’s power in numbers. While we can’t see live shows, we can still stream Aussie content, and we can still listen to and download Aussie music – adding it to your playlist is key for algorithms. You can also show your support for your favourite creatives by following them on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Better yet, send them messages cheering them on. Many artists are also doing virtual performances like the Isol-Aid music festival, the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall classical shows, and The Australian Ballet Digital Season. It’s not the same as sitting in a live audience, but you can wear your PJs.
Stay Tuned In
There’s one thing for certain: this will pass – and we will all be in festival mode again one day. So next time you’re at a music/ comedy/theatre/dance show, clap loudly for the talent. But when you walk past the sound desk, an usher, a roadie, a truck driver, or anyone with an AAA (Access All Areas) pass, please put your hands together and clap for them also. Thank them for giving you time away from your troubles and sharing the happiness that culture brings. Although we’re a proud, stoic bunch in entertainment – we all put on our show face on and keep going – we have to swallow our pride now and say we need “somebody to lean on”.
Art by numbers
Australia’s arts sector is worth more than $111 billion to our economy.
More than 600,000 people work in the Australian arts sector.
Nearly 200,000 artists are not eligible for JobKeeper wage payments.
According to the I Lost My Gig website, which tracks COVID-19 cancellations, artists have lost $340 million since the crisis started.
Jobs in the Australian arts sector have declined more than 18% due to COVID-19. This figure, calculated at the end of April, is likely to increase in the coming months, and it does not include the huge number of freelancers who’ve also lost their livelihoods.
The Greens are asking the Australian government to improve the stimulus package to include a $1 billion emergency package to save our creative industries from collapse and help futureproof them.
Join Our Campaign
A world without creative content would be a world without beauty and laughter. On June 26 we’ll be flooding our Instagram account in support of all creative and performing artists who’ve been left behind by the Australian government during this global pandemic. We want to show our leaders how bleak a world without art would be, and rally for more funding and assistance for an industry that brings so much joy. Join the #SaveOurCreators campaign by doing the same.
This article originally appeared in the July 2020 issue of marie claire.