Aussies say the ‘Arts are Newsworthy’

A petition to see a dedicated arts and culture segment in our daily TV news (like with sport) has gained 6,997 signatures and counting, including singer-song writer Missy Higgins and Archibald Prize winner Yvette Coppersmith. 

Arts are Newsworthy’ is urging SBS and ABC to commit to a regular showcase of what’s on, recognising achievements and updating us with critical arts news as the organisers argue ‘This would create a powerful boost to arts industries and will deliver a critical change in the role culture plays in our daily lives.’

The call for coverage and therefore greater visibility and audience is coming from artists Tai Snaith, Nina Sanadze and Mia Salsjö, inspired by Monique Germon’s letter to her local paper in Tasmania. 

Did you know the arts are a regular part of nightly news coverage in Italy, Germany and France?

Australia markets itself to the world as a creative nation but we don’t routinely celebrate it in our most popular or accessible media. It’s established but perhaps not well known or appreciated that the arts contribute greatly to Australia’s economic strength, the creative arts make a significant contribution to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product and employ more people than other industries such as mining, and in 2020 the numbers inch above those working in finance. 

But the value of the arts is not only fiscal. And while during the pandemic it’s less likely you’ve been a spectator at a game it is almost certain you have consumed the products of the creative arts with glee, from film to music, podcasts, virtual gallery tours, children’s creative activities, literature, dance productions and television. As signatory Jo Burton comments ‘Come on! Everyone LOVES the arts! Music, dancing to music, a gorgeous picture or photo, amazing graffiti, orchestras, bands, stories – let’s feed our minds and souls with some regular updates! Makes people feel good and connected – we need this!’

As an arts worker I recognise that some of the most common questions I field on ‘the arts’ are about understanding and access.

Some of these questions include, ‘I would love to look at or buy art but where can I find it?’ or ‘What does it mean?’ ‘Is that good art?’. Often these questions come from people I think could go and find the information themselves, which tells you that, as with the news, this information should be packaged and brought to us daily. There is an appetite for it and it impacts our experience of the world.

As signatory Phoebe Crockett commented ‘I would LOVE to know what’s happening in the arts and culture world. I ALWAYS know what’s happening in sport, not because I am particularly interested, because the information is so readily available. ARTS is NEWSworthy!’

You can sign the petition here.