Major investment required for arts and disability and creative ageing

Date posted: 
18 August 2010

Arts Access Australia is calling on the Australian Labor Party and the Coalition to invest $20 million over the next four years to implement the National Arts and Disability Strategy, with an additional $4 million for creative Ageing, so people with disability can take their place, as artists and audiences, alongside all Australians.

"There is strong community support and a clear need to increase arts participation by people with disability" said Gareth Wreford Executive, Director of Arts Access Australia.

Over 90% of 812 respondents to a July 2010 survey on the National Arts and Disability Strategy agreed that access to career pathways and training opportunities are limited for artists with a disability and that improving
access to the arts should be supported by dedicated funding in addition to making all arts funding programs accessible.

'Equality is fundamental and disabled performers challenge society's preconceptions about ability and aesthetics', said South Australian set and costume designer Gaelle Mellis.

Gaelle Mellis, who has a physical disability, has worked as a set and costume designer for theatre, dance and events for more than 20 years. Among many awards, Gaelle has received a 2004 Churchill Fellowship, 2002 Adelaide Critics Circle Individual Award and a 2009 South Australian Screen Award for her production design on the film Necessary Games.

Despite the success and leadership of artists like Gaelle the one in five Australians with disability have much lower levels of arts and cultural participation, and receive very little arts and cultural funding, yet aspire
to create and attend art like other Australians. For this to change new money is needed to create new Australian stories and audiences.

For information on the National Arts and Disability Strategy see:
www.cmc.gov.au/working_groups/national_arts_and_disability_strategy

Media Contact : 

Emma Bennison 0410 553 383, Chair of Arts Access Australia and artist with disability
Jane Trengove 03 8640 6012, Access Program Manager Arts Access Victoria and artist with disability