To all our art communities, family and friends,
What happened on Friday when the Australia Council announced the outcomes of its four-year funding for organisations, was possibly the most traumatic loss for cultural organisations within our beloved arts sector that I have experienced in my lifetime as an artist. My company, BalletLab and Temperance Hall received an email notifying us that unfortunately, our application was unsuccessful. It was in that moment that I instantly felt such disappointment, outrage, frustration and devastation—not just for my company but for the entire arts sector—as I read through the long list of organisations axed or placed on transitional funds for one year.
But this is not about lashing out in protest—what’s done is done. Friday’s bloodbath and the consequences of this culling lie at the feet of the Australia Council and the Minister to the Arts, Paul Fletcher.
The enormous impact of COVID-19 on our sector has left no one unscathed. We now enter a period of solidarity and support and adaptation for everyone in the arts or who engages with the arts. My heart is heavy, particularly for those that missed out during these austere economic times: the experimental, queer, regional, disability and youth arts practices.
My first response to these announcements is to say that I believe the arts’ function in our society is to be a thriving crucible of ideas that has the power to elevate the human soul beyond the possible and into the imaginable. We now stand in a time of healing for our Australian arts communities, and Temperance Hall remains steadfast in our commitment to fostering a culturally dynamic and diverse collective of artists. We seek a future for Temperance Hall that is forged by the inspiration of our defiant, independent artists. Temperance Hall is the Australian champion of queer artistic ambition, and I was deeply discouraged to see Australia Council fail to recognise any LGBTQIA+ organisations in their funding decisions. Queer leadership in our community is required more than ever and we will continue to offer this along with our collaborators.
At the centre of these impacts, we reflect on Temperance Hall’s amazing achievement of establishing an inimitable hub for queer arts and creative industries that is necessary for the discovery of the next generation of creative aspirations. Thank you to the arts communities and independents who have helped shape the cultural life of Temperance Hall, becoming the thriving cultural venue it is today. With the support of our Board, staff and Artistic Associates, Temperance Hall continues as home to the wonderful, thought-provoking, pioneering LGBTQI+ artists in our community.
I feel the loss of the emotional, physical embrace that dance fills in my life and within our community.
We will open our doors again and that moment can’t come soon enough.
Queer and Out,