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Artists paint a way forward for a sector in decline

Artists paint a way forward for a sector in decline

NAVA executive director Esther Anatolitis.

NAVA executive director Esther Anatolitis.

Photo: Daniel Gardeazabal

Some 200 artists and arts professionals from across Australia are gathering at Canberra’s Parliament House on Wednesday, hoping to persuade politicians of the urgent need to formulate a “national cultural agenda”.

Future/Forward – an inaugural two-day symposium, which began on Tuesday at the National Gallery of Australia – is organised by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) which, despite its name, represents a broad spectrum of contemporary genres including performance, installation and multi-media artists.

That’s below the poverty line – and it’s actually declined.

NAVA’s Esther Anatolitis on artist wages

On average, each of those working artists will earn around $18,800 in 2018 from their actual sales, performances or concerts, says Esther Anatolitis, NAVA’s executive director. “That’s below the poverty line – and it’s actually declined.”

Anatolitis is quoting research by cultural economist David Throsby which was published by the Australia Council for the Arts in November. The report – based on interviews with visual artists, actors, directors, musicians and writers, among others – showed the average income of a professional Australian artist from their practice fell 4 per cent in the seven years to 2015.

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