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Annual Report 2016-17


The 2016-17 Australia Council for the Arts Annual Report was tabled on 23 October 2017. The report outlines key achievements and outcomes during the second full year of activity under its Strategic Plan A Culturally Ambitious Nation.

From the Chair:

2016-17 has been the culmination of Council’s transformation in the way it delivers support to the arts, secures new arts investment and develops the evidence base for the arts.

The dynamism of our arts sector is evidenced by the more than 6,500 new Australian works supported by Council this year and appreciated by the 16.4 million audience members who experienced the work of artists and organisations we funded.

Rupert Myer AO
Australia Council for the Arts

From the CEO:

The goals of our strategic plan continue to guide our work, and over the past year many great results have been realised for our national arts sector and its audiences. I am delighted that we were able to directly support 765 individual artists and 631 organisations across the country, with countless more benefitting indirectly from an investment of more than $177 million in the arts through the Council.

The Council continued to implement an enhanced program of strategic activity across international, capacity building, advocacy, research and co-investment during 2016-17.

This year the Council delivered 48 strategic international development initiatives through an investment of $2.2 million. More Australian art is being seen and presented through initiatives and programs that strengthened ties with more countries than ever before. This activity includes Council led market delegations across emerging and established arts markets to fast-track profile and capability, and high impact professional development opportunities through our residencies program.

The Council has a unique national role in building knowledge about Australian arts and leveraging that evidence to advocate for the importance of the arts in our individual lives and its ability to strengthen our communities. Our enhanced research program launched this year, made publicly available through the new Arts Nation online platform. Key research and data released this year included Showcasing Creativity, the Local Arts Engagement dashboard, Reading the Reader and Connecting Australians: Results of the National Arts Participation Survey.

Developing co-investment opportunities which provide additional support to Australian arts is a priority for Council. 2016-17 successes include delivering the first round of the Marten Bequest scholarships, introducing a second Red Ochre Award supported in partnership with the Sydney Opera House, and The Mordant Family Fellowship. The Council also announced a new partnership with the Macquarie Group to deliver a First Nations Emerging Curator Award. I am delighted that these programs, including the Australia Council Workplace Giving Program, will contribute over $775,000 to Australian arts, in addition to the $2 million raised through the highly successful 2017 Venice Biennale project.

The Council remains committed to First Nations art and artists as a priority and 2016-17 saw more than $13.1 million invested in First Nations artists and communities through the Council. Highlights include support for First Nations led organisations which doubled through the Four Year Funding program and 1,620 new works by First Nations artists and organisations supported. First Nations arts remained a focus in our research and co-investment activities, with high impact strategic programs delivered this year including Chosen, Signature Works, international curators programs and the annual National Indigenous Arts Awards.

Tony Grybowski
Chief Executive Officer
Australia Council for the Arts

Read the full report in PDF  (3.4MB). Please note that this PDF is also accessible.