The Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG) was established in 1999, following the Nugent Inquiry, in order to give focus to the newly established Major Performing Arts companies, the issues they share, and to provide a unified voice for its members to the Federal Government.
With the creation of the National Performing Arts Partnership Framework released by the Australia Council at the end of 2019, the sector agreed it was timely to re-imagine the future of arts advocacy. COVID interrupted everything for the performing arts, including this process. It also brought the arts together in new and productive partnerships.
“The last six months under COVID have proven beyond a doubt the value of a consolidated voice to government,” said AMPAG Chair, Mary Jo Capps AM. “During this time, AMPAG Executive Director, Bethwyn Serow, has done an outstanding job, tirelessly working to consolidate the constantly changing data and collaborating with other peak bodies to help inform government decisions and assist the broader performing arts sector.”
Capps adds: “Advocacy must be constantly evolving if it is to be effective. The time has now come to make way for a new unified voice reflecting the not-for-profit performing arts sector. It is vital we are able to speak as one regarding the enormous public value delivered by the arts to all Australians.”
The doors of AMPAG will close on 27th September 2020 when Ms Serow finishes. The AMPAG Board and members are extremely grateful for her commitment and expertise, as well as that of Administrative and Online Co-ordinator Leigh Russell, who finishes 7.08.20, and wish them every success in the future.
Bethwyn Serow, outgoing executive director of AMPAG said, ‘It has been a challenging and enormously rewarding journey to represent the performing arts across a huge range of forums and issues from the philanthropic stimulus and cultural diplomacy to arts education and freedom of expression, drawing on examples and data to reinforce the vital role the arts play in igniting and connecting people, their stories and expression. While the work is far from over, and severe COVID hardship is biting the sector, I am pleased that together we have secured some relief and recognition of the connecting and entwined impact of the arts across the economy and within our communities. There is still much potential to tap and I wish my peers, members, broader sector, and the government agencies that work to support them future success.”
Consultation over the past months confirms there is goodwill and great support for developing a differently structured approach to strengthen this united voice. Discussion around a small number of encouraging options for unified advocacy are underway. AMPAG looks forward to making a further announcement in the near future.
For further information: AMPAG@AMPAG.com.au