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Arts chief hits back at withering critique


The head of Arts SA has hit back hard at criticism of the State Government’s support for the arts.

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The executive director of Arts SA, Peter Louca, rejected the criticisms contained in an opinion piece by Rainer Jozeps, published in InDaily yesterday.

Jozeps argued that the State Government’s “vibrancy” agenda was contributing to mediocrity in the arts, and alleged that the State Government had reduced support for the state’s key arts organisations.

Louca said the opinion piece “contained many errors of fact, alongside its liberal dose of poetic and dated licence.”

He denied Jozep’s claim that the Adelaide Festival’s 2016 budget had been reduced, saying the 2015-16 budget was “on par” with the allocation it received in 2014-15.

He also refused claims that the Australian Dance Theatre’s funding had “dipped below $300,000 when it was once $1 million per annum”.

“ADT’s funding is just over $1 million per annum and has been for several years. Mr Jozeps is confusing this with Federal funding through the Australia Council, which hovers around the $380,000 mark,” Louca said.

Louca also took issue with Jozep’s suggestion that the Art Gallery of South Australia’s “support base is shifting to the unsustainable life support of benefactors”.

“Art Gallery funding has increased substantially, from $7.4 million in 2012-13, to $11.9 million in 2015-16. The superb offerings at the gallery have pleasingly boosted the overall level of benefaction, but that contribution is used to develop additional programs, such as those for children (Start and Studio) and the First Fridays.”

On the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, which Jozeps said was the least-funded in Australia, Louca said its funding was better than its Western Australian counterpart and comparable with similar-sized orchestras.

“Of course like every other priority of the state the Arts could do more with more, but Mr Jozeps seems determined not to let the facts get in the way of a presumptuous story,” Louca said.

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