Tell us your vision for the arts in South Australia

Some issues and themes you may choose to consider:

1. AMBITION: - What three or four words or phrases resonate with you that describe or imagine the future of the arts industries in South Australia?
2. FIRST NATIONS ARTS AND CULTURE: - How do we reinforce existing stories, or tell a new story about first nations’ arts and culture – about the past and our journey together into the future?  What is that story for you?
3. PRIORITY AREAS AND OUTCOMES: - What are priority areas for you?  What should we do differently to grow and drive increased sustainability across the arts in South Australia?  How do you simply and briefly define SA’s role in the Australian arts sector?  What are some opportunities in the future?
4. GOVERNMENT AND GOVERNANCE: - What is the role of government (funding, advocate, investor, regulator, facilitator)?  How should it achieve the objectives of this role(s)?
5. AUDIENCE AND ACCESS: - What are some of the key issues and opportunities for South Australia across the following areas: • Diversity • Audience engagement • Rural and remote community participation and access • Corporate participation and support • Philanthropic support and investment for social impact?
6. INDUSTRY AND INNOVATION: - What can be done through the arts sector to: • cultivate skills including entrepreneurial and innovation across business and industry • increase tourism • harness the opportunities of digital technology • enhance creative spaces and places • increase the importance and role of the creative industries in driving the economy • establish an industry and “point of difference” for South Australia?
7. EMBEDDING ARTS AND CULTURE: - We talk about “integration and embedding the arts across government and into everyday life" - what do you see as the main opportunities and challenges to such pathways?
8. ECOLOGY: - Any “ecology” has many parts that are interdependent or may rely on each other for survival, growth and increased sustainability. What are some key issues of the South Australian arts and cultural ecology that could be strengthened to increase overall vibrancy and sustainability?  What are the “disrupters” that will emerge and may impact a future ecology?  Some components of an arts ecology may include the following segments: • Education • Emerging artists • Mid-career artists • Established artists • Small to medium companies • Larger companies • Venues and other infrastructure • Collecting institutions, museums and galleries • Festivals.
9. FINAL THOUGHTS: - What are the three key things you wish to happen from this Plan?

You can either respond to some of these themes and question, or simply tell us your own ideas and and 'arts story'.

Join in the discussion below.

Comments closed

Caroline Johnson

29 May 2019

I wholeheartedly agree that the “A” needs to be urgently added to STEM, to give real STEAM to our education and indirectly to the financial, cultural, imaginative and creative health of our state. South Australia's art reputation used to be good, thanks to Don Dunstan...but it has sadly got dumbed down.
It is almost impossible for a graduate artist to make enough money to survive without another waged job. Arts are considered a luxury...but in truly civilized countries like Denmark, ARTS are priorities and design is flourishing to the enrichment of all. The children and babies spend hours outside in the fresh air ( even in winter) and pursue natural development and arts and only learn to read and write at age seven. Dislexia and depression are hardly a problem. Lets learn from clever countries.
It has been proven that children given 3 months of music activities and exposure have increased maths abilities over those who have 3 months of sitting in front of a computer playing games and dumbing down their brain wiring. Take the clever maths kids and remove the music and give them computers and their maths does down. Please look into these studies connecting music to maths.
The arts is how cleaver countries do it...they wire the children's brains properly with enriching music, ( not kiddies jingle jangles) and include exercise in a daily routine (
Why is this the daily mile happening in 35 countries but not in obese sunny AU? Malnourished (overweight) children with their malnourished overweight parents everywhere blobbing in front of commercial NON-ARTY brain numbing TV. We not only need an A in STEM, but another M for Movement ( movement, not sport) to fertilize and develop the brains of our youth.
STEAMM : Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Movement please.

Jan Ferguson

28 May 2019

The current guidelines for Country Arts SA make it very difficult for the remote regions to participate in the funding process and gain funding for artists who are locals to gain funding . The programs allow the attraction of artists into the region but not to support artists who live remotely. The arts are very important to our communities. The guidelines are also difficult to attract touring shows given our audiences will be because of our population small.

Yvette van Berkel

28 May 2019

Thank you for an opportunity to comment.

I am an ex-arts practitioner. I moved to South Australia over 13 years ago to practice as South Australia had such a strong arts scene, in both visual/object and the performing arts. I eventually left the arts - although I was a successful professional, the income I was generating was nowhere near sufficient for me to at a certain age be able to get a mortgage, so I moved into another professional area to allow me to be financially safe and I now return to the arts through a high level of patronage. My story is very similar to many arts professionals who find that whilst they are professionally very successful, they money they earn leaves them financially exposed and unable to participate in what could be considered basic life expectations like buying a house. I am pragmatic about this and very thankful for the creative time (over a decade) that I was able to be a practicing artist and am glad I can give back - the arts gives so much to me and I have introduced so many others to the arts.

I feel that South Australia was visionary in the arts for decades, but now I am very concerned that we are seeing a continual decline in successive state government's understanding of how important the arts are to this state and we will soon pass the point where SA can be said to be a leader and arts destination. Fringe, Adelaide Festival and the other arts festivals are brilliant events, as are all the other exhibitions and events that occur here, and are recognised nationally/internationally. If the government does not increase on funding levels for the arts in this state and develop a serious, central vision around SA as an arts state, all this is at risk.

We have an opportunity for a new contemporary gallery. Do not miss this, make it happen! A strong focus on Aboriginal and Pacific collections (developed by those communities, not the government by themselves!) is an important idea, but I do believe that maintaining the original vision of a contemporary gallery which is agnostic in style would also be a massive drawcard - it does not need to be one at the expense of the other. I know it was a different party, but that should not colour the vision - do the right, innovative thing, not just need to be different at the expense of an opportunity. Do both in the same venue - then it maximises interest and broadens audience. Ensure this state grows its arts presence, it is essential culturally but also economically and is a sustainable industry.

John Greenshields

27 May 2019


• Australia has a deficit of publicly available cultural material.
• Australia has the largest Aboriginal, and one of the largest Pacific collections in the world.
• Most of this is never seen, and will never be seen with current funding.
• Australia should be showcasing these collections to the world.
• This would promote high value tourism and spending.
• There are geo-strategic reasons to promote Australia as the major cultural power of the region.
• Australian Government funding to assist the States in recording and digitisation of collections for online access is urgently needed.
• An ageing knowledge base makes this work increasingly urgent.
• The divisions between public art galleries and museums needs reforming to promote new joint initiatives.
• Australia is entering a construction downturn.
• The Australian Government should assist the States to fund major new galleries across the country.
• These should take new forms to unite art and ethnography, culture and history.

Khairunnisa Schebella

27 May 2019

I am a regional artist who spends most of my time these days advancing, administering or producing arts events and projects in my area. Going for grants is a major pain in the arts can we somehow have a more streamline and simplified system?
More opportunities for training and exposure across art forms and cultural practices in the regional areas is crucial to our well-being, employ-ability and survival.
More inter-generational art and culture experiences to knit the communities together.
Put the A into the STEM and give our education system the STEAM it needs to move forward to build better resilience and solution focused learning. The Arts filter should be applied to every subject.
How about tax breaks for the Arts? Arts practitioners, arts investors, arts producers.
Bring music back in to schools....wholeheartedly!
Every Council should have at least one fully funded full-time Arts and Culture Facilitator for their area.
and... I concur with all the other suggestions already made below.

Lisa Ormenyessy

10 May 2019

Vibrant, Connected, Community, Thriving
I see connectivity between Artists and their Audience as a priority. Without an audience the artist is in an echo chamber. Training & Development in what it takes to run a successful enterprise/arts practice being number one. As an art buyer I have ideas and ways to grow the arts in SA. The buyer is often left out of the conversation, yet any good business relies on listening to their market. Learning from other industry about what works and super imposing it on the Arts may be a new way to look at it. If you want sustainability Grants should be around teaching artists how to thrive as a working artis, how to sell and market their art successfully over trips overseas for residencies. Creating a Business/Artist partnerships model that is accessable to small businesses maybe an interesting conversation.

Lisa Walker

23 Apr 2019

Libraries are a vital component to the social, well being, educational and digital literacy of our smaller regional communities. It is hoped that continued contribution to these community hubs is maintained to enable ongoing access for all.

Dana Thomsen

13 Apr 2019

I'd like to see more opportunities for people with disabilities to be involved the arts in SA, especially those outside of Adelaide.

Lisa Smedley

10 Apr 2019

Please please please, create pathways to careers in the Arts, funding in Education, Dedicated spaces in Rural areas with PAID curators and staff. Make space for ART in our lives!

ray harris > Lisa Smedley

10 Apr 2019

Yes and PAID artists too!

Lisa Smedley > Lisa Smedley

10 Apr 2019


Kate Larsen

09 Apr 2019

"The SA Arts Plan should be a living document that unlocks investment and effects change, and that is accompanied by a plan to reinstate (and increase) the State Government’s previous level of investment in the arts." My draft SA Arts Plan submission is available online at

Tony Knight

06 Apr 2019

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute. I attended the meeting at the Adelaide CBD, which was informative and encouraging. However, based on this meeting, as well as the 15 comments attached to this page, I think you are facing a rather formidable challenge. There is a profound lack of diversity in all areas - age, race, gender, et al., including location and financial status. My professional and personal interest are with Actor training and professional theatre. Yes - the is excellent talent in South Australia. The level of skills, however, is questionable. Very few South Australian actors have national and international careers unless they are graduates of places such as NIDA. No recent Flinders or AC Arts graduate has national and international status. Why? When all the publicity for these institutions state how successful are their respective graduates. Successful - perhaps - but in amateur theatre and film, not professional. They are lacking professional skills and experience. One way to address this on the homefront is to create another professional theatre company - to get South Australian actors and other theatre artists working. It is only through work that there will be any improvement. Adelaide and South Australia are sophisticated enough to support another full-time professional theatre company. So why hasn't this happened? It is a mystery. Unfortunately, the lack of diversity in professional theatre places the SATC in a rather invidious position. Despite its overall excellent work, it is very easy for the perception to exist that the SATC, including its respective stakeholders, occupies the position of an elitist monopoly. I would challenge the idea that professional theatre in South Australia is as diverse as is claimed. There are only 8-10 productions per year, most of which have small casts, and a number of them are productions from inter-state professional theatre companies. These factors alone reduce the opportunities for South Australian actors to develop their skills and professional experiences. Furthermore, it is too expensive for most to access professional theatre. Subsequently, the need for another full-time professional theatre, one that also tours and offers an alternative to the SATC is absolutely needed. This is complemented by the need for another professional theatre of the same size and dimensions similar to Belvoir Street in Sydney, a type of performing venue that currently doesn't really exist in the Adelaide CBD. I wish you all the very best in this massive challenge that will naturally involve many different opinion and perspectives.

Kay Jamieson

04 Apr 2019

The Arts need to have a seat at every table where State Vision is being discussed/decided, across every government and decision-making body. And include young people - emerging artists/practitioners but also young arts consumers . Not just the ubiquitous Arts elders. The wider Arts is a vital part of the health and wellbeing of society. Physical, mental. emotional wellbeing. Decision-making by the State. Councils. Communities. The School. The Street.

Embed the arts as a vital participatory part of every education curriculum. Early education. primary education, secondary education, tertiary education
Create a culture pass or similar that provides free or heavily discounted tickets/access for young people to experience/participate/experience a cross section of the arts that returns benefits to the user - like a frequent flyer card.

Provide support to all arts organisations to allow greater access across the arts for those who are differently abled.

Melanie Selwood

01 Apr 2019

Our South Australian arts sector is highly successful in a number of ways. However, there are ways that we can improve - particularly in the ecology that supports it.

There is a serious skills shortage that is coming from a lack of high quality training courses. Many of the courses for skilled theatre workers in courses other than acting have been eroded to a point that graduating students often require a long period of on-the-job training. This is exacerbated by the existential difficulties faced by the small-medium scale organisations who often provide opportunities for junior workers, who then progress to the larger organisation. I believe this skills shortage, and the lack of opportunities for people to grow into their practice is one of the biggest issues currently facing the arts community. By supporting the training institutions to provide high-quality training for arts practitioners, we could make enormous improvements to the ecology of the arts sector.

Venues are disappearing for both smaller scale theatre and live music. Thankfully our sector is creative, and people are finding ways around this problem with innovative solutions, but with some strong government support, our live music and theatre scene could thrive with a wider range of available and affordable venues.

Kate Larsen

19 Mar 2019

The arts in South Australia should be:

AMBITIOUS: South Australia may be a smaller state with a smaller population, but this should be used as a selling point, not an excuse. We should not just celebrate our history as a State and City of Firsts, but also commit to a future of the same. We should invest in and incubate work that is bold, brave and risk-taking. We should lead the country in terms of the ideas and stories our artists and arts organisations share, and the ways in which they share them. And we should channel our investment into the powerhouses of that innovation: independent artists and Small-to-Medium (S2M) organisations.

ACCESSIBLE: In difficult economic times, the communities that experience the biggest and most detrimental impact are often those who are already marginalised. Whether involved as artists, arts workers, board members, participants or audiences, this means that First Nations communities, Deaf and disabled people, youth, people in regional areas, and those from culturally diverse backgrounds (among others) are likely to face additional barriers to arts participation. We should embed access into our arts funding processes, arts practices and organisations. We should make inclusion a priority, not an afterthought. We should focus on the cutting-edge outcomes of integrated access, not on compliance. And we should actively redress the historical imbalance that has stopped our marginalised communities from being able to participate in the State’s creative and cultural life: such as making sure our existing arts infrastructure is accessible, welcoming and fit-for purpose.

SUSTAINABLE:The 2018 State Budget announcements have exposed the SA arts sector to a period characterised by uncertainty, instability, negative readjustment and grief. The longer-term impact of the State’s truncated investment in the arts is likely to include SA organisations reducing their size, programs, engagement and reach, and/or SA artists and arts workers leaving the sector or the State. What is broken is not so easily fixed. We should immediately address this uncertainty and clarify the restructure of Arts South Australia, changes to arts grants and how those grants will be administered. We should look to the State Government for strong, strategic and consistent support. And we should call upon it to value its investment in arts and culture in as demonstrable a way as it does investment in other areas, such as its space and military infrastructure.

DIVERSE (AND PUT FIRST NATIONS ARTS AT ITS HEART): South Australia’s arts organisations do not currently mirror the diversity of the communities and constituencies they represent and serve. We should insist upon diversity at all levels of our arts organisations and programs. We should embed best practice principles for community-engaged work to ensure “nothing about us, without us.” And we should listen to and be led by our First Nations artists and communities (both through the significant work already undertaken as part of the Aboriginal Arts Strategic Plan in 2012, and through ongoing, meaningful, community-led engagement).

Government Agency

Arts Plan Consultants > Kate Larsen

31 Mar 2019

Thannks Kate for your response. Very clear and important points you make. Many we have consulted with so far, share your views. There is also a very deep commitment and passion we feel across the sector. We hope the plan will help bring these voices together and provide clarity and strength into the future.

Susan Armitage

14 Mar 2019

AMBITION for the Arts in SA: innovation, ideas connected to place, a strategy eschewing popularism, an ambition of international excellence...
I am currently sitting in Doha,emailing you from the Middle East. Adelaide and the Arts sector I believe could learn from a communication initiative of Qatar Museums, which I have found invaluable. I subscribe to a Culture Pass site, organised through Qatar Museums, the organizing Arts body here. The Culture Pass consists of a regular email on “what’s “ on across Doha ..the range and diversity of opportunities, in all spheres, is STAGGERING... Architecural Walks, visits to buildings to see world class architecture and an opportunity to engage in these ideas, Public programmes at the Museum of Islamic Art, an International Women’s Day seminar at the Qatar National Library, a Biennial International Architectural forum run through Virginia Commonwealth University, the opening of the National Museum, speakers on Islamic manuscripts at the MIA Library, expert speakers on Palmyra..and that’s just in ONE week.
I’d love to receive a broad What’s On in Adelaide ..with links to sites to book tickets, or to nominate attendance.. so much of what is provided in Adelaide is free..Festival of Ideas, Writers Week, Volunteer tours of AGSA, the Botanic Gardens, the SA Museum, entry to Exhibitions, community art events, Instagram feeds.
An effective communication strategy ,which is relatively cheap, would immediately signal a State and City, engaged in the Arts and wanting people to share in these opportunities. The State in a sense should co- brand with the Arts...the City does already, with the annual Adelaide Festival of Arts.
SPADE READY? : I understand the need to provide projects in SA which provide employment but I think it’s limited to view the Arts too narrowly in an economic context alone . Art, science, beauty, ideas, intellectual engagement, a connection to place, respectful story telling are all important goals in themselves and define a sense of who we are...
#Reward existing Cultural institutions which have demonstrated they have the people and resources to attract audiences, provide programmes of International excellence, capable of touring internationally, and able to engage intellectually with the community. Hard working institutions which already nurture new audiences. Surely your greatest immediate, SHORT TERM, leverage will come from investing in existing institutions which already meet your goals.
# provide LONG TERM, integrated planning a 10, 20 year plan of what should be built in this state to provide the necesssary INFRASTRUCTURE to cope with current and future needs. Think laterally about how the “ Arts” world will evolve and how we will consume the Arts in the future.
Provide LONG TERM integrated planning to look to provide avenues to meld various Arts disciplines over time...make co- operation attractive.
# take a risk..

Government Agency

Arts Plan Consultants > Susan Armitage

31 Mar 2019

Thank you Susan! Thank you for writing during your travels - international case studies and examples are really helpful to give ideas to our home community. Sometimes the simplest things can be really effective. At a time when we are flooded with information and "communication" achieving clarity, "cut through" and visibility can still be hard. Long term planning is also important and this process hopefully has stimulated a discussion and lots of ideas about what the future of the arts in South Australia can look like. Safe travels!

K. Ballard

09 Mar 2019

I live in a large rural city community. We see only what Country Arts SA want us to see now. About a decade or so ago we as a community would go to Country Arts SA and say, yes, we would like to see a Blues evening or a Jazz evening here, and the local community would take it upon them selves to guarantee attendance, if it was organized! And they were successful performances - and everyone was happy!
But that ability was suddenly taken away from us! Of course, like many other things money plays a large factor in getting such performances out into the regions. But shouldn't the regions be allowed to have a say in what THEY would support and see too, instead of having the decision made for us by Country Arts SA?

Government Agency

Arts Plan Consultants > K. Ballard

31 Mar 2019

Thank you for your comments. We really appreciate your views from someone living outside the city area. We are actually on the road this week to speak further to those in regional centres - Mount Gambier and Port Augusta and we have already had forums in Goolwa and the Barossa. The arts is for everyone and we hope this plan, over time, will assist more of the community have access to the arts they want. PLease ask your friends and colleagues to make a submission to this process. Thank you again for your comments.

Anthony Peluso > K. Ballard

09 Apr 2019

Dear K Ballard
Thanks for your contribution to the arts plan discussion. Now is the right time to speak out about how we can make our whole state a better place to live with more arts and culture for all South Australians.
I would be very interested to hear more about what you would like to make happen in your community.
Feel free to email me directly at and I would be happy to have a chat.
Anthony Peluso, Arts Programs Director

Ruth Rentschler

01 Mar 2019

The arts ecology is strong in SA but could be stronger if the message is communicated to potential audiences about its richness. Some of the great things that happen are a secret known only by those who’ve lived here a long time. For outsiders it’s sometimes hard to find out what’s going on and how to experience it

Government Agency

Arts Plan Consultants > Ruth Rentschler

31 Mar 2019

Thanks Ruth. In this "information age" in which we live it should be easy to find out what is happening - sometimes however it is feels like searching for "hidden gems". We need to all work out ways to make sure our communictions are clear and accessible.

Ruth Rentschler

01 Mar 2019

Boost arts governance effectiveness in all arts organisations
Hold festivals all year round to bring vitality and value to the state across the year
Bring the disparate pieces of the puzzle that are Aboriginal experiences together in a well-marketed set of opportunities that promote the strengths in Aboriginal arts to a hungry public

Sean Williams > Ruth Rentschler

03 Mar 2019

"Hold festivals all year round"

Instead of all at once (it feels like, sometimes) in Mad March? Imagine the audiences we could achieve if people didn't have to choose between competing events occurring on the same night.

Government Agency

Arts Plan Consultants > Ruth Rentschler

31 Mar 2019

Thanks for these comments - there is always a debate about the balance between - having a critical mass of activity at the same time (Mad March) to a more even spread.

Ruth Rentschler

01 Mar 2019

The arts have social, economic and cultural benefit for the state creating vibrancy, vitality but also jobs and growth in a state with the highest unemployment nationally.

Government Agency

Arts Plan Consultants > Ruth Rentschler

31 Mar 2019

The arts place a massive role in a whole range of ways - economic, social, liveability, social cohestion, improving learning, mental health etc etc. We need to champion these impacts more so everyone has a greater awareness of the extensive power of the arts. Thanks again Ruth.