Equity in the arts

In the 21st Century, is there equity in the arts?

One would think that if any Australian employment sector had by now dealt with equity in its ranks – that it surely it would be the arts.

There’s a UK article that addresses the sad fact that their arts sector has yet to really deal with the equity issue of having non-white faces dominate the sector. Click here for that piece. There is the call to persuade and cajole the arts sector to stop discriminating.

So what about Australia? Australia is a multicultural country. Take a  walk through particular suburbs in our capital cities and you will experience the wonders of multiculturalism.

However what about the visual arts? What is the dominant message from the art that hangs on the walls. I suggest it mainly remains a white view of the world.

In putting together this short piece, I looked through the executive teams of our major visual arts public galleries. They are all run by white men. Their teams have a reasonable mix of women. However given the perception that these major art bodies have embraced the asian neighbours, we do not see much in the way of asian faces within their ranks.

I suggest we have a little work to do yet to be able to claim that these institutions have taken positive steps to have key staff reflect the true nature of the country. Maybe once we get that achieved, we may then see their work on walls reflect a different view of the world.


Paul Costigan

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