Historic Australia Council Meeting in Canberra

Creative Australia,
15 February 2013, Australia

The Australia Council first met in its present form on 16 February 1973.  Four decades later, the Council will hold its first meeting for 2013 on 19 February in Canberra to commemorate its 40th anniversary.  Prior to this meeting, the Australia Council will mark the anniversary by inviting government, the diplomatic corps and Canberra’s artistic community to celebrate the achievements of Australian artists who have received the Council’s support at a special gathering at the National Gallery of Australia on Monday 18 February 2013.

“As Canberra celebrates 100 years and the Australia Council marks its 40th anniversary, we have the opportunity to commemorate two important milestones in the ongoing development of Australia’s national identity,” said Australia Council Chair Mr Rupert Myer AM.

“This anniversary has also provided us with the opportunity to acknowledge the generous and consistent support we have received from Australian governments and supporters during this period. Since being appointed chair in 2012, it has become very clear to me that the historic strength of the Australia Council comes from its close relationship with Australia’s artists,” said Mr Myer.

“Throughout its history the Council has been guided by the expertise of an extensive national network of artists and arts practitioners who are our source of advice and expertise about the arts. Over the years, the Council has supported more than 20,000 artists and arts organisations in every state and territory and it has promoted and presented Australian arts in more than 50 countries around the world.  Last year, more than 13 million people in Australia and beyond our shores enjoyed art created and presented with the support of the Australia Council,” he said.

“Many of the artists supported by the Council in the last 40 years have gone on to become celebrated household names, including dancers and choreographers such as Meryl Tankard and David McAllister; writers Peter Carey, Les Murray and Tim Winton; playwright David Williamson; actors Judy Davis, David Gulpilil, Geoffrey Rush and Cate Blanchett; visual artists Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Tracey Moffat and Patricia Piccinini; composers and musicians including Peter Sculthorpe, Simone Young and Richard Tognetti, and even recent Grammy winner Goyte.”

On the eve of Canberra’s Centenary celebrations, Council members will also be touring Canberra’s arts and cultural institutions and meeting with its arts community.
”The Australia Council had a close relationship with Arts ACT and Canberra’s arts community. We currently support an expanding artist-in-residence program in ACT schools and provide annual funding to the Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Craft ACT, Art Monthly Australia and Ausdance National,” said Acting Australia Council Chief Executive Ms Libby Christie.

“And our relationship with the ACT has strengthened even further since 2012 when we assumed responsibility for the national touring programs.  These programs provide support to enable the presentation of exhibitions across the country, including touring exhibitions developed by the National Gallery of Australia, the National Museum and other collecting institutions,” said Ms Christie.

“We are proud that the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of The Secret River, currently on stage at the Canberra Theatre Centre, was also supported by the Australia Council.  We are delighted that the people of Canberra are enjoying this important new work of contemporary Australian theatre which continues to attract popular and critical acclaim,” she said.