BY CHRISTOPHER HARRIS
The Arts Party aims to give the arts community a voice, and believes it has a chance of securing a spot in Canberra.
The party was founded over a beer at Coogee Beach when PJ Collins had the idea to form a single issue party.
Shortly after the the win of the Coalition at the previous election, Collins said that he had “a feeling that things weren’t going to go well” for the Australian arts sector.
“Funnily enough, we’ve had the biggest cuts to arts in a generation.”
He said that the response to the party has been good, and cites the party’s performance at the North Sydney byelection.
They received two per cent of the total vote in North Sydney, and campaigned with a minimal amount of volunteers and only $9000 in funding, a pittance compared to what the Liberal Party was rumoured to spend.
Now he is currently figuring out the logistics of fielding candidates in seats and senate positions for the looming Federal Election.
One such candidate is Frank Madrid, a performance artist originally from Venezuela who is passionate about the benefits of exposing children to art from an early age.
He said that access to arts is often taken for granted, but there are a lot of people and children in Australia that are left behind.
The senate aspirant started out his career as an actor, and went on to work in TV and Radio
“I actually moved from performing, to administration of the arts, to working in areas of development, and realised that not everybody has this access, or enjoys the benefits of the arts,” Mr Madrid said.
He said that an increase in funding to the arts sector was about making society better.
“It is looking at the importance of art and culture and making better indidividuals, and in turn making a better society.”
“If you cast your mind back to when the Greens came out looking at the importance of environmental issues, today we think that arts and the benefits of the arts should be enjoyed by every individual.”
He said that it was not just about the amount of funding.
“The Arts Party is demanding greater funding overall, and the priorities of that funding having closer consideration to see to what extent it translates into audience development.”
He said funding for small and medium sized organisation was important, because they were the powerhouse of creativity.
“Of course, the engine of what happens is the small and medium arts sector, that is where composers, writer, performers, artists get ideas from and new movemnets are created. You cannot overlook the importance of them.”
Originally from Venezuala, Mr Madrid was one of the Spanish Wiggles.
He said this would be beneficial in capturing the attention of the Australian public.
“It was cool to know you were communicating with an audience of three year olds, you get their attention, or you don’t. I did a lot of training.”
“I am hoping that will come in handy, all those hours of intense smiling at little kids.”
“That legacy stays with you; we did serious training on how to engage with them.”