Re: IDAT99 and no budget

Lesley Wheeler (
Fri, 18 Dec 1998 12:07:03 +0000

>From: "Doug Rosenberg" <>
>Subject: Re: IDAT99 and no budget
>Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 6:24 PM

>I share the frustration voiced by other in regard to the lack of funding for IDAT, however IDAT is
not alone in being unable to fund artists for their work. It is part of a much larger problem in
the United States that permeates our entire culture. Ken Starr has spent 50 million to investigate
the President, another prosocuter spent 20 million to investigate Mike Espy, (for accepting about
$10,000 worth of free gifts) and universities spend millions on sports while declining to create new
lines for teachers. So it is quite obvious that in this country our priorities are out of whack.

Believe me, it's not just your country. Here in Australia, the arts have been systematically
de-funded over the past 10 years. I was running the stats last night for my MA and they're
depressing. There was a 30% decrease in the level of funding to cultural venues and services between
1986 and 1992 and it seems to have diminished further since then. We have governments at Federal and
(here in Western Australia) state level whose priorities are in anything other than the culture of
our country. But we still spend $6m per athlete to get a medal at a Commonwealth or Olympic Games.
And we still build large sporting arenas to open to the public about 10 times a year before building
a cultural venue that's been needed for the past 15 years.

>Since the early 1980's we have stood by while the right wing has systematically dismantled the NEA,
the castrated liberal left, and created a climate of moral repression. The question is what are we
going to do about and what can we do? At this moment I am feeling completely demoralized as I watch
Clinton headed for what looks like certain impeachment. Anyone have any suggestions as to how !
>we might regain control of our culture?

I think it's a global dilemma and I agree - we need to do something to get culture re-prioritised
both in the government and public arenas. The fact that in poorer countries, their culture takes the
role of entertainment and community as central to the welfare of people.

In our more affluent societies, there is so much choice, and the promotion of choice is so endemic,
that appreciation of the nation's culture is sidelined. More people have access to sport at home and
school than to some cultural pursuit - something that is maybe not so in poorer countries. We also
seem to wear our culture as an accessory, rather than as a garment.

It is my hope that something will come along to change this or give us an avenue by which we can
generate the change. Maybe it is the globalisation of communication through electronics. Maybe this
will provide us with a higher priority for expressing and wearing our culture.

So please don't lose hope - and keep up the good work incorporating today with yesterday in our
creative arts.

@ Wishing you a
@\|/* M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S
*\**|*@/* and a safe & Happy New Year.
@ **\**|**/***
*\**@\|/**@/* Ciao for now
***@*\**|**/*@*** Lesley Wheeler
@********\|/*@******@ Perth, Western Australia