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Our Position: Major Performing Arts Framework

Following is a summary of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s position in relation to the Australia Council for the Arts’ Major Performing Arts Framework Consultation Paper

Arts and culture define a nation.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is a leader in Australia’s arts and culture sector. We play a unique and valuable role in the Victorian arts landscape.

Sector leaders, like the MSO, are essential to the Australian arts ecosystem as:

  • creative leaders
  • educational pioneers
  • partners and collaborators for all sector participants (including small to medium performing arts companies)
  • employers
  • international artistic standard-bearers
  • cultural diplomats

We believe in the funding measures of:

  • artistic quality and creative leadership
  • financial sustainability and governance
  • contribution to the Victorian and Australian arts ecology

Long-term and stable funding is essential for the MSO to:

  • achieve our program quality, reach, accessibility, and diversity
  • confirm artists of national and international standing and coordinate international touring
  • meet our responsibilities as a leading arts employer and presenter

The MSO believes multi-partite funding should be open and available across the Australian arts sector for all performing art forms and premier organisations that are considered world-class.

The MSO believes in peer reviews undertaken by peers who have experience in, and understanding of, the organisational, artistic, community and leadership responsibilities of the organisations being assessed.

The MSO believes that the small to medium arts sector also needs cyclical funding to provide them with certainty that enables them to plan, develop and grow. With all performing arts organisations (small and medium included) able to plan ahead together, a united sector would evolve in a meaningful and sustainable way. A sustainable arts ecology is a common goal to all.

We welcome industry consultation and believe Governments should also consult with specific interest groups such as local government, schools/venues in regional centres and international festivals/arts organisations when considering specific types of activity outside of the existing funding envelope.

The MSO believes the base funding should:

  • recognise the vast number of artists and cultural workers employed by an Orchestra compared with other art forms
  • ensure performance outcomes and audience reach are considered when assessing base funding
  • remain unchanged (from the current base) or increased through the introduction of an advancement fund to allow us to
    1. plan
    2. take artistic risks
    3. ensure the security of our key assets (our artists and employees)
    4. ensure the longevity of our partnerships with other arts, health and education organisations (including our small to medium arts partners)
    5. uphold our long-standing commitments to schools, regional communities, disability service providers, and culturally/economically disadvantaged communities
    6. meet our touring obligations in rural and regional Victoria and as a cultural diplomat for Australia in the Pacific, Asia, Europe and the US
    7. retain and deliver on our strong commitment to the development of Australian artists, including authentic and creative engagement with Indigenous Australian culture.

The MSO believes that more funding will empower an even more vibrant arts and cultural sector, thereby amplifying the impact of the arts in our society and on our economy.