In six months time JobKeeper will expire. This provides arts organisations with a timeframe for moving forward. In six months the sector must take responsibility for creating great art events that attract an audience and generate revenue – because in six months time we will no longer be able to rely upon Government support.
How the sector will look in six months or how it will achieve a sustainable amount of revenue is not easily predicted as it will be different for every organisation.
We know that the responsibility for employing artists and support staff will fall back upon arts organisations. We know that organisations will have to create a safe space, both for artists and for their audience, and they will need to convince a potential audience that they will be safe.
We know that future arts events will be a mixture of physical space and subscription digital delivery.
We know a vaccine remains some time away and the potential for an outbreak at any time remains high.
We know the only way to create disposable income that patrons can spend upon culture and arts is to get all sectors back to work and productivity.
So arts organisations have a time frame and they have a set of key actions they need to engage in. Noone expects every arts organisation to become financially sustainable within the next six months. What’s important is that boards and committees have a vision and a plan for how they will remain sustainable, while continuing to employ artists and support staff, beyond March 2021.
This will require your organisation to plan an exciting and daring artistic program, one that interests audiences and attracts revenue. You will need to engage in significant marketing because competition for audiences will be ferocious over the next twelve months and you need to start building a financial surplus as a buffer against future outbreaks.
I’m John Coxon, founder of art4u.australia, a consulting agency helping arts organisations remain viable through application of The Cycle a proven model for arts organisations. Reach out to me via email.