The PACT Centre for Emerging Artists is teaming up with performance collective Applespiel for a 24-hour live event in protest of proposed government cuts to the arts sector. Specifically, they'll be hosting an all night telethon, with the aim of raising not money, but rather excellence, in the hope of acquiring enough excellence for George Brandis' controversial National Centre for Excellence in the Arts. The event is titled In Pursuit of Excellence: A Telethon for Excellence. Sounds excellent.
Taking place in the PACT Theatre in Erskineville, the tongue-in-cheek telethon kicks off at 6pm on Friday, July 17 and will be taking pledges of excellence until the same time the next day. There'll be panel discussions, dances, exhibits and live performances, plus video statements from arts organisations far and wide. Entry into the event is free, although donations are most welcome. Those wanting to stay the night should bring a blanket and snacks (enough to share please!), while drinks will be available from the bar. If you can't make the event in person, you can stream the whole thing live at www.inpursuitofexcellence.net.
The Telethon for Excellence is part of a broader movement of events and protests under the #freethearts banner, which aims to draw attention to and hopefully reverse the planned government cuts to the Australia Council. Under the most recent federal budget, the amount of money allocated to the peer-reviewed arts funding body will be slashed by more than $100 million over the next four years, and instead go to the newly created Centre for Excellence. What is most troubling about this change is that rather than being decided by an independent body, the provision of grant money would fall to the Arts Minister, aka Brandis himself.
According to a statement from Applespiel, "This Telethon is at PACT to highlight what we stand to lose: the space and support for independent art makers. Because that’s what spaces like PACT do best, they nurture and grow the practices of artists, they allow space to fuck up, to try something new and difficult, to learn. Without these spaces, where will independent artist go?"
For the full rundown on the Telethon for Excellence, including information on how you can pledge, check out the event page on Facebook.