Annual Report 2014–15

The 2014–15 Annual Report highlights the transformation that the Australia Council has undergone to deliver strong outcomes for the arts sector and its audiences.

The year was shaped by the ambitions articulated in our new Strategic Plan, where Council plays a leadership role in advocating for the arts, fostering artistic excellence and increasing national and international engagement with Australian art and artists to build a vibrant arts sector.

As the nation’s principal arts body, the Council continues to champion and invest in Australian arts through the realisation of our strategic goals.

  • 2014-15 at a glance

    • $191.5 million invested in grant and project funding to artists and arts organisations.
    • 17.7 million audience attendances at activities supported by the Australia Council.
    • $6.5 million in private support leveraged to build Australia’s new pavilion in Venice.
    • 1,964 grants and projects supported to explore, experiment and entertain.
    • 8,855 ambitious new artistic works created with Council support.
    • 989 individual artists recognised for excellence through Council funding.
    • 175 organisations were strengthened by multi-year funding through the Key Organisations and the Major Performing Arts frameworks.
    • $28.9 million to foster artistic vibrancy and access through arts investment in regional Australia.

  • Supporting arts organisations

    The Australian arts sector is a broad and complex ecology comprising artists working independently and in groups with those who produce, present and promote the arts. Their creative endeavours are undertaken with arts companies of all sizes, festivals, publishers, producers, venues, and many other commercial and not for profit entities.

    The Council has a unique national leadership role which includes direct and indirect engagement with every facet of the sector. Charged with the role of champion and investor, the Council promotes artistic vibrancy, sustainability and excellence through support and strategic development of arts organisations.

    Read more about support for arts organisations.  

  • New grants model

    The Australia Council invests in artistic excellence and promotes freedom of artistic expression through peer assessed grants programs for individuals, groups and organisations.

    The new grants model reflects changing artistic practices and supports a wider range of activities that deliver benefits to the arts sector and audiences nationally and internationally. This model enables a broader and more diverse range of artists and organisations to apply for funding towards the creation and presentation of excellent work.

    While maintaining a commitment to traditional art forms, the grants program is now more accessible to emerging areas of practice and cross-art form work. For the first time, applicants are able to select the art form panel they will be assessed by, including a new dedicated panel of multi-art form peers. The new grants program is supported by a much larger and more diverse pool of expert peers, which includes 650 artists, arts workers and industry experts.

    Read more about the new grants model.  

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is the oldest living continuous culture in the world, and we cherish the importance of traditional arts practices and the dynamism of new forms of artistic practice. The Council acknowledges the need for artists, arts organisations and communities to participate in a cultural life, and to conserve and innovate traditional and contemporary artistic expressions for future generations to appreciate and engage with, as they understand their cultural inheritance and identity as Indigenous peoples. Artistic and cultural vibrancy are a key focus of the work produced by Indigenous arts organisations.

    In 2014–15 a total of $10.7 million was invested in arts and cultural activities with a predominantly Indigenous focus, through direct project grants ($2.3 million), the Major Performing Arts companies, Key Organisations, strategic initiatives, and grants in other areas of practice.

    Read more about our support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts. 

Useful Links

Fiona Hall in her exhibition Wrong Way Time

Australian arts are without borders

Australia at the Venice Biennale

The 56th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale marked key milestones for the Council and Australian visual arts. This included the showcasing of one of Australia’s finest contemporary artists, Fiona Hall, in her detailed and immersive exhibition Wrong Way Time, which at 30 June had been seen by over 70,000 people. The Council also realised the vision of the new Australian Pavilion through a public-private partnership that delivered the first 21st Century building in the historic Biennale gardens.

Australian visual artists were highly celebrated at the Biennale with a record number of Australian artists presenting works in the curated exhibition All the World’s Futures, at the Australian Pavilion, and in official collateral exhibitions throughout Venice. This international recognition raises Australia’s international profile and demonstrates the quality of the Australian visual arts sector.

Australia Council Awards 2015

Australia is known for its great art and artists

Recognising the work of great Australian artists

For the first time in March 2015, the Council recognised all individual art form awards collectively at the 2015 Australia Council Awards.

Paying tribute to the remarkable contributions made by 10 Australians to our arts and cultural landscape, these prestigious national awards combine long-standing lifetime and significant achievement awards in music, literature, community partnerships and visual arts, with new awards in theatre, dance, and emerging and experimental arts.

Artistic excellence, diversity and exceptional leadership were the consistent themes across the distinguished recipients, with the awards being an acknowledgement of the significant achievements and contribution that each artist has made to the vibrancy of the Australian arts sector.

Kahl Wallis at the National Indigenous Arts Awards (credit: Carolyn McCredie)

The arts enrich daily life for all

Dreaming success for the future

Queensland songwriter and musician Kahl Wallis received the Council’s Dreaming Award for a young artist to create a major body of work through mentoring or partnerships in 2015.

Wallis’ project will see him work with family members in Cairns to record his first full-length solo album, infused with his communities’ traditional language, songs and stories, and make an accompanying documentary about this journey into his Indigenous heritage. Wallis will act as a mentor to other young Indigenous musicians through the project.

Three Goonyandi dancers performing at the KALACC festival (credit Joe Fox)

Australians cherish Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and cultures

Keeping Culture Strong

The Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre Festival continues to be one of the most important festivals supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts in Australia. The Festival, supported by the Council, focuses on cultural knowledge transfer through youth programs, visual arts, men’s and women’s business, as well as dance and song from Kimberley communities. In September 2014, the Festival brought together 30 language groups from over 45 remote communities to one place to learn the stories, songs and dances that connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the land.

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