A DECISION by the federal government to effectively dissolve the Department of Arts has been met with concern by the MIA's artist community.
The government announced last week it theDepartment of Arts and Communications would be incorporated into a "super department".
As well as the arts and communication, the department will also include the areas of infrastructure, transport and regional development.
The decision was made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as part of changes to the public service, which will see the number of government departments reduced from 18 to 14.
The Cad Factory creative producer Sarah McEwan said the decision could possibly effect the amount of funding for some events and projects in the region.
"My concern with the recent announcement is artists could find it harder to get work and be paid for their skills, artistry and vision," she said.
"As it is, the majority of artists survive on a very low income.
"The Riverina/MIA has a strong creative community and people are dedicated to making our region vibrant and meaningful through creative practices.
"I sincerely hope the passion and drive of our local artists won't be deterred by this decision."
The decision has been met with frustration and anger among even high-profile artists from several genres, with many taking to social media to call for the arts community to protest the change.
"Details haven't been released yet to say how the new department will be run," Ms McEwan said.
"I think we need to wait to see how the new department will manage the merge.
"I am concerned 'the arts' has been dropped from the new title of the department because now there is no obvious presence of a huge sector that exists across Australia; a sector that works to shape and share Australian narratives and identities in all their various and wonderful forms.
"To me, it suggests the federal government is not placing value on the impact and vitality of the arts and what it contributes to society, which economically is over $100 billion a year."
In terms of funding opportunities that have the potential to affect regional artistic activity, Ms McEwan will be closely watching what happens to the Regional Arts Fund.
This funding stream the Department of Communication and the Arts currently run through Regional Arts Australia is a key funding round for regional arts organisations producing new work.
"Arts funding is already extremely competitive and I hope the new department continues the same level of financial commitment or increases the budget," Ms McEwan said.
"Another three funding rounds on my radar are: Visions of Australia, who fund the touring of visual art exhibitions; Festivals Australia, who fund small and large creative gatherings; and the National Regional Touring Programs, who fund performances that go to our regional theatres.
"Budget cuts to these funding rounds could mean a significant change in the regional cultural landscape, as touring cultural product relies on these funding streams to afford the costs of sharing their work to venues across the country."
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