Given conversations at recent NSW touring and theatre advocacy meetings in July I was interested by the focus of Caroline McCormick’s (Chair of Achates Philanthropy Foundation in the UK) article and thought it timely to share it as we consider how to celebrate the value of the arts and those that support it. Creative Partnerships Awards and NSW Government awards are two ways we celebrate philanthropy but what else could we do?
So, is a quota for the arts appropriate in a system in which there are such challenges? I would argue not. To enforce such a position would only further enhance the view that quality of life is defined by survival and economic contribution alone. The danger with quotas is that once you make something a discipline, once it becomes enforced, the joy associated with it is lost, and the pleasure of engaging with the transformational value of the arts is where a greater opportunity for change lies.
Quotas move us away from engaging fully with people. The Achates Philanthropy Prize was founded to celebrate people, and their individual, personal journey towards cultural giving. We wanted to dig deeper than a number – to understand how they feel about their local cultural organisation, how that led them to offer support, how they articulate and share this experience among their family and friends.