It would seem that I’m a naïve optimist! Whereas I thought the ‘industry’ around Indigenous art would really like to know an honest figure for the size of the business rather than hang on to past guesstimates, and would want to be able to tout their contribution to both Indigenous poverty and Australia’s artistic credentials (as the current campaign to arouse politicians to the underfunding of all Aussie artists is proudly doing), it seems they don’t.

What could be the excuses? Too much effort, or not enough time “ I was told by one dealer who’d put in the hard yards that the ‘hour’ predicted for the exercise actually took 6 hours:
But it gave me an insight into some of the dynamics of my business that I could only guess at. After proper database analysis, I think I came up with some fascinating information. I hope that many other galleries will recognise that this is very useful to all parties and spend the time to respond.

Or could it even be that their ‘business’ is so far below their expectations that they’re embarrassed to reveal all, even on a commercial-in-confidence basis? And would that then raise doubts about the industry as a whole?

Here are some of the unenthusiasts:
I have participated in things like this before, then watched the bureaucrats manipulate the figures (lies, more lies and damn statistics) to ensure that their CARE (cover arse and retain employment) industry is sustained. We have then seen the Government actively undermine the private sector. There is no way private galleries will contribute to the further employment of CARE worker who believe that taxpayers should indulge their gallerist fantasies with no personal risk. So no, I will not be doing this. I am not into self-destruction and definitely do not trust the Government or people who depend on the sustained disadvantage of indigenous people as an ‘industry’.

And: “Jeremy, if I filled in every survey I wouldn’t have a business! ”

The Australia Council’s Mandy Whitford generously admitted:
“Thanks for the feedback on the variety of responses… we do realise that some are suspicious of our motives!”
As a result, Deloitte Access Economics has extended their final deadline until next MONDAY “ JUNE 20th.

Deloitte’s Sasha Zegenhagen explained: “For the project to be viable to continue, we require just 20 more responses from the survey. As such, we urge you to please complete it to ensure the research can reflect the important role of private art businesses in contributing to the broader Indigenous visual art sector. If time restricts you from completing the entire survey, we would encourage you to complete the first page “ current sales.”

Here are some thoughts on why it might be worth having a go at that first page:

This important research study is designed to:
Provide Indigenous arts organisations, galleries and artists with an evidence-based resource that conveys both the cultural and economic value of their sector;
Promote the role of the Indigenous visual arts industry nationally and internationally, and in the broader economy;
Bring together and build on existing research, to create an industry-wide picture that informs decision making and advocacy.

The success of the project depends on sufficient private art businesses participating in the survey. Deloitte’s need more responses to be able to create a complete sector picture.

The Private Art Business Survey is:
Commercial-in-Confidence: the Australia Council for the Arts will not have access to your business’s data. Deloitte will handle the data securely commercial-in-confidence, and will only present aggregated data. The Australia Council will only be involved in the cultural analysis for publication.
Independent: Deloitte Access Economics will be collecting data to articulate the economic contribution of the industry in Australia, including its impact on employment, tourism and the broader economy.

To see an example of Deloitte’s previous economic contribution work, see the link below related to their economic study of the Sydney Opera House