25 January 2021
A New Decade and Journey Begins.
On the other side of 2020, a new decade and journey begins.
To understand where we are now, and where we are going, it is useful to look back at where we have come from.
At the end of the twenty tens, after an economic downturn and federal funding cuts, Artsource experienced recurring reductions in government support, beginning with the loss of all funds at the end of 2018. At the December 2019 EGM, despite the lack of a substantive funding base, the membership of Artsource voted overwhelmingly to support the organisation, and the board’s stated intention to reimagine its operations and model.
The Old Customs House (OCH) Lease was not renewed, and the Department determined to call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) on the use of the premises. The 2019 application for Organisational Investment Program (OIP) was unsuccessful in that the funding required to support full delivery of service was not achieved. The Department for Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries’ (DLGSC) feedback was that the application was not aspirational enough, and it had been decided (as we later found out) to place a ‘sunset clause’ on Artsource, with all funding ceasing at the end of 2020.
The Artsource Board committed to an open feedback campaign throughout 2020 called REBOOT. Panel discussions and open forums with members, painted a clear picture of artist needs weighted towards advocacy, artist studios and employment opportunities. And then COVID-19 broke out.
During 2020, the organisation has been operating with a skeleton staff, but still delivering value to artists and associates through advocacy, professional development, infrastructure development, insurance requirements, sales and marketing, partnerships and COVID support. Strangely, JobKeeper and some emergency Lotteries funding due to COVID, helped us through.
In September 2020 four new board members were inducted and work commenced on rebuilding the organisation, first through developing a new Strategic Plan 2020-2024 and vision. This was developed through extensive research into current trends, and collated findings from recent arts literature, reports and arts sector research.
In late 2020 our new Strategic Plan was sent out to a number of high-profile arts community members for feedback and it received resounding positive support. In December 2020, Board members met with the Executive Director of Culture and the Arts and senior staff at the DLGSC to present the Strategic Plan and outline our plan for the EOI for the OCH. We walked away beaming at their excitement and engagement with the new direction for Artsource and their keen interest in our plan. Importantly they told us that the sunset clause on Artsource could now be lifted.
We are not going to lie, things are still precarious ….and we haven’t received any funding yet, but there is hope.
The board members are working tirelessly to apply for funding for the organisation and have just submitted an application for the RISE fund through the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications and the Arts.
Our Creative-Connected application focused on delivery of COVID safe and COVID proof accessible art experiences, professional development, workshops, exhibitions, regional exchange and a Visualive (livestreaming) Festival. If funding is successful, this two-year program will provide numerous paid, participatory and voluntary opportunities, for artists and arts workers to develop, present, support, curate and manage these events and activities.
The Board are working on three more funding applications for some exciting new initiatives which are still under wraps. They are also working on the Expression of Interest for Old Customs House, which we anticipate will be released soon.
There are a number of changes to Artsource staffing that has occurred as a result of the new strategic direction of the organisation. In addition to the information below, we will provide a more detailed summary of the changes and new roles and appointments over coming weeks.
To cover these roles, Saara Nyman has increased her role as a membership services officer and we thank Saara for her professionalism and efforts. Maggie Baxter has accepted a short-term consultancy managing ArtLease while the Board refines the business model and strategies to expand the clientele, marketing and promotion of the business.
Natasha Williams is now our new bookkeeper, and as she is associated with Armada, an accountancy firm, we are afforded a range of other financial services. Natasha works offsite at Armada’s offices and is flexibly available 9 – 5pm Monday to Friday.
Debbie Gilchrist, who stepped down from the Artsource Board late last year, is completing a Governance Review at the Board’s request to ensure the organisation’s systems and regulatory compliance requirements are up to scratch. Debbie is a rare mix of a Chartered Accountant with over 20 years’ experience specialising in Not-for-Profit organisations, and a visual artist. She will continue her consultancy through her company BaxterLawley, part time during February and March to assist the board to apply for upcoming major grants for Artsource, including:
the Lotteries Strengthening and Adapting Grant, which will provide funds for Organisational Capability and Governance, Innovative Service Models, and Sector Collaboration.
the Building Communities Grant focusing on connecting communities, marginalised groups including Young People 15 – 24, People with a disability, and Aboriginal people.
Watch this space...
Wishing you all a wonderful start to 2021 and a new decade!
These projects have been funded by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) Culture and the Arts WA.