We’re back, baby.  It’s time to not only celebrate the full return of the Arts to our ‘cultural capital’, but to acknowledge all that we’ve learned through the adversity that Covid has brought us.

    In a unique and fundamental way, we’ve learned that our arts and culture, and the connection it provides, is fundamental to our resilience and survival, particularly when adversity strikes.

    As we all hunkered down during the pandemic (in one of the most locked-down cities in the World), Melbournians turned to Netflix, novels and knitting, and embraced arts and entertainment, not only to pass the time, but to take us out of our world of uncertainty and adversity.  We learned that creativity, (whether experiencing it or manifesting it) is an expression of our agency and individual freedom, and we needed to feel that more than ever before.

    In a converse and cruel twist, the support and connection that art and entertainment, culture and craft provide us, became all the more apparent in a time when artists and performers themselves were left unsupported.

    As the pandemic turned us to arts and entertainment, our artists, actors and entertainers were all-too-often forced out of their livelihoods.  A large proportion of creatives missed out on the government-funded financial support or work-from-home alternatives that the rest of us took for granted.  While our State government has since provided support packages (such as the Creative State 2025 Strategy funding that will see the Footscray Community Arts Centre develop a new outdoor amphitheatre, for example), the Australian government were (much like PM Scomo for much of his term), missing-in-action when it came to recognising their importance.  They seemed to think that art and culture, because its purpose is not purely revenue generating, is less valuable to our society rather than more.  But the pandemic showed that arts and culture’s value lies in its transformative nature rather than transactional value. At both an individual and societal level, arts and culture provides the creative space and freedom to imagine, inspire and empower, particularly in times of austerity and adversity 

    The Arts, we’ve found out over the last two years of adversity, is not just the icing on the cake of a successful society, but essential to it. It’s time to embrace our arts and culture as not simply entertainment, or the icing on top of a meaningful life, but the foundation of it.  


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