In a discussion paper released on 16 June, Arts Queensland and the Centre for Social Impact propose the establishment of a Foundation for the Artist – the first of its kind in Australia - to bring together public, private and corporate funding for artists and the creation of new work. The Foundation will complement existing funding sources, and offer new forms of support for creative practice and innovation.

Peter Shergold, Macquarie Group Foundation Professor at the Centre for Social Impact, said that the research, ‘Arts Plus, New Models New Money’ showed funding emphasis in Australia had shifted toward arts institutions and major companies, leaving proportionately less money for individual artists.

He said a Foundation for the Artist would add to the existing range of agencies and organisations and provide a suite of new options for artists and donors, from micro-loans and investor funding to fellowships and superannuation planning.

“Few realise the creative economy contributes as much to the national economy as agriculture, and its importance is set to grow in the twenty-first century,” said Professor Shergold.

Dr Julianne Schultz, editor of Griffith Review and Co-chair of the 2020 Australia Summit Creativity Stream, said “Every aspect of the arts is inter-related – funding the arts is not an either - or proposition. Strong arts companies require a pool of brilliant individual artists. If we neglect one component, the whole sector is weakened. It is artists, working on their own or in groups, who are the turbine at the heart of the creative industries, producing cultural value for us all. The challenge is finding appropriate ways to recognise, support and enhance that activity.

“The Foundation for the Artist will be an independent organisation with multiple sources of income, with a capacity to explore new approaches to financing and designed to supplement and complement the work of others who currently fund the arts,” she said.

Artists, donors and other stakeholders will be invited to respond to the proposal as part of a feasibility study, which will also examine the foundation’s governance, charter and operational requirements. It is envisaged the feasibility will be completed within the next three months.

The discussion paper was developed with input from an expert steering committee including Peter Shergold, Julianne Schultz, Leigh Tabrett, Robyn Archer, David Gonski, Cathy Hunt, Frank Moorhouse, David Throsby and the late Mark Lyons. Background research was conducted by Positive Solutions, Janet Clayton and Mary Travers. The paper develops an idea canvassed by the Creativity Stream at the Prime Minister’s Australia 2020 Summit in 2008 in which Adam Simpson took part.

The full discussion paper can be downloaded from