Brisbane Visual Arts Advocacy Group (BVAA) is a working group that has formed to advocate for the recognition and fostering of, and investment in, independent artist and arts worker led activity in Brisbane. We believe that supporting independent artists, arts workers, and Artist-Run-Initiatives (ARIs) is an integral part of the cultural lifeblood of a city. We need the rich microcosm of multi-level arts production to ensure that we can retain and grow our vibrant local arts sector.
It is well-established that engaging in cultural and creative activities helps us develop a sense of belonging, forges social cohesion, stimulates curiosity and the ability to engage with different perspectives, and can have a range of beneficial effects on health, wellbeing and education outcomes. We understand that we cannot create a vibrant, friendly, healthy and prosperous city without the diversity, cultural identity and cultural safety that independent artist and arts worker driven activities offer.
BVAA is an affiliate member of Committee for Brisbane. We currently receive no funding from any government entities.
To advocate for the recognition, investment and fostering of artist-led activity in Brisbane.
A future Brisbane that values arts and culture as an essential component of the city’s vibrancy and liveability.
We retain the important things about Brisbane for future generations. This will help us to make the right choices to achieve the future we want.
Brisbane residents have access to diverse, culturally safe, creative activity.
Artists have enough opportunity to create scaffolded, resilient, experimental practices to keep residing in Brisbane.
Supporting the Sector
Supporting the independent and artist-run sector as an essential component of the arts ecology is a strong investment in our creative sector and city.
1. This sector is the “compost” that generates the practices of experimental artists outside of traditional structures for making and showing art.
It is a subcultural, responsive, flexible innovation hub from which new ideas are initiated and tested. These ideas are then integrated into artists’ practices and subsequently into larger festival and exhibition spaces over time. It’s common for artists to continuously return to independent projects throughout their career due to the creative agency and flexibility they offer.
2. This sector supports and grows emerging artists and arts producers.
Many artist-run spaces function as the “bottom rung” of the career ladder. It is common for new arts graduates to form ARIs as a way to retain the connections with their fellow alumni, and provide their first exhibition opportunities. It also teaches participants essential skills of team work, project management, funding and facilitating art, resourcefulness, and how to generate and communicate with audiences. These artists are the future creatives who will produce the high-level, diverse and culturally distinctive activity which arts festivals and city strategies rely upon.
3. Financially supporting this sector is the most direct route to funding art and artists.
Within established arts organisations at various levels, funding can be eaten up by the bricks-and-mortar venue, staff wages, marketing and other project costs before budget is allocated to the producers of the art which a project relies upon. In an independent project, the producers of the work can generally retain a greater percentage of the funding to put towards essential living costs or to invest back into their practice.
4. You get a greater yield.
This sector can make a lot happen with relatively small amounts of funding and support, but withers without any at all. Artists and artsworkers know the value of the funding and support they receive and will try to stretch it as far as possible- there is no waste in an artist-run project. The funding and support we desire has little-to-no impact on a citywide or statewide budget, however a substantial investment in this sector would result in a proliferation of projects that could fundamentally change the cultural fabric and cultural health of our city.
5. We retain our artists.
Brisbane loses many of our best creatives interstate. An investment in independent and artist-led activity means that artists have more agency and opportunity to create resilient, self-directed and scaffolded arts careers whilst continuing to live and work in Brisbane.