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Why arts matter: highlights from the Australia Council’s year in review

More than 10,000 new artworks; strong international success; positive outcomes for female artists; and increased recognition of First Nations arts are among the highlights of the Australia Council’s investment in the arts that contributes to the individual lives of all Australians.


The results are outlined in the Australia Council’s 2017-18 Annual Report tabled in Federal Parliament today.

For the first time, the report features case studies that illustrate the impact of Council’s support, demonstrating why arts matter to individual and community wellbeing, social cohesion, Australia’s international reputation, and the future of work.

Darwin artist VASSY is featured on the cover of the report. She is one of the most sought-after vocalists in the world, with an impressive catalogue of multi-platinum records and prolific collaborations. An Australia Council grant funded VASSY’s first demo tape, opening doors to her future success.

Australia Council Chair Sam Walsh AO said that the report highlights the impact of investing in the arts.

“This investment is an investment in the future. The arts matter and are intrinsic to the lives of all Australians: our communities, our society, and our futures. At a time of accelerated change on so many fronts, the role of the Australia Council is more important than ever. We look forward to building on the success of the past year enabling even more artists to reach broader audiences across Australia and the world, sharing the unique stories of our nation,” he said.

Key highlights in 2017-18

·  The Australia Council supported Australian artists and arts organisations to create over 10,000 new artworks, and reach audiences of nearly 23 million (22.8).

·  More than ever, artists are experimenting with technology to shape their practice and engage new audiences.

·  This included direct support for 762 individual artists and 609 organisations across the country, with countless more benefiting indirectly from an investment of more than $189.3 million in the arts through the Australia Council.

·  More than 46,000 arts activities created by, with or for children and young people, an increase of 33%.

·  More than 600 arts leaders benefited from the Australia Council’s capacity building programs.

·  Strong outcomes for female artists in the core grants program, with 63% of grants awarded to female artists

·  The Australia Council’s strategic international investment, alongside its grant programs, helped Australian artists and organisations reach an international audience of 4.7 million in 2017–18 – almost double the audience reach of the previous year.

·  2017–18 was a year of international success stories across art forms, including more right sales resulting from the Council’s Visiting International Publishers Program. A book from a small Australian publisher telling a regional Australian story, The Town, became the sensation of the world’s largest book trade fair in Frankfurt.

·  Growing international interest in First Nations dance – Bangarra had a momentous year including breaking box-office records with Bennelong, and performing at the United Nations.

Copies of the full annual report are available for download. Hard copies are also available on request.

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Annual Report 2017-18



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030

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