‘At The Moment’ Tafe and the visual arts
The Tafe Visual Arts and Contemporary Crafts exhibition and opening night At The Moment (Friday Nov 2nd, 7.30pm at Perc Tucker Regional gallery in Townsville) is a very important event for many reasons. Artgaze will be there to show their support and hope to see the biggest turn out yet.
Recently there have been many cuts in visual arts and crafts based programs at the Tafe in Townsville, and there will be more! until one day poof! it wont exist and you will have to be rich, middle class and white if you want to have access to the kind of training and support that was on offer at the Tafe. It seems inevitable at the moment that the arts will become even more inclusive and money driven than they are already. This bureaucratic attitude is not exclusive to Queensland, and has been happening around the country to the horror of not only arts education exponents but all sane educators, health and social workers. Ironically, Arts Queensland our peak state body for the arts claims on their website that, ‘Worldwide, the creative industries continue to grow faster than any other sector. This reflects the realities of today’s wealth-generating economies’. So why are we dismantling our creative business incubators?
I have witnessed students attending Tafe courses, who had talent in creative areas but came from challenging backgrounds, and who came to believe in themselves through the influence and encouragement of teachers and peers at Tafe. Such students often gained the confidence to go on to other courses and then higher education or kept producing work and found a niche for their work in the arts/crafts industry.
Particularly sad is talk of closing the Indigenous art program which has produced some extraordinary artists, painters, print-makers and crafts people, and given our local Indigenous people a voice and the opportunity to share their culture. Some of the Tafe Indigenous students exhibitions I have attended at Perc Tucker have included breath taking and thought provoking work from artists all over Queensland and the Torres Strait. To kill off this important resource because of an attitude that education, social change and making money go hand in hand would be a crime. Palm Island is not another country, it is part of our Townsville community, and the Palm Island artists and both our communities will be the biggest losers of such short sighted cuts to Tafe Courses.
See you at the opening launch of At the Moment 7pm Friday Nov 2nd. Look out for the review in artgazemagazine.com.
arts/film curator, writer and practising artist