I am very pleased we have gathered this evening to celebrate 30 years of the Independent Arts Foundation.
As a young South Australian in the 1970s and early 80s, I was genuinely excited by and proud of our state’s flourishing arts sector, with its flagship companies, cutting-edge work and burgeoning events, such as the Adelaide Festival and Fringe.
Several decades later, having had some experience of festivals in other countries, I am confident – and proud - that South Australia’s reputation for artistic excellence remains strong.
Crucial to maintaining, and growing, this reputation is how we nurture up-and-coming generations of South Australian artists.
For three decades, the Independent Arts Foundation has played an important role in achieving this by providing much-needed funds to emerging practitioners through awards, scholarships and grants.
The dynamic nature of the foundation and its members is evident from its earliest days.
Upon the demise of the Elizabethan Theatre Trust, its South Australian members rallied to form a new organisation – one that was independent, focused on local talent, and supportive of all art forms.
In particular, I note the presence this evening of several long-serving members of twenty years or more, including patron Jessica Dames, who was the founding Chair and instrumental in the transition from Trust to Foundation.
I commend the funding the foundation regularly awards to South Australian artists.
In the past decade alone, you have awarded more than $250,000.
This funding, especially in the past two years of the pandemic, has been hugely important for artists, given limitations around live events and overseas travel.
It has been wonderful to see you rally with fundraising efforts during this period, with all Literary and Film Club functions booked out.
I applaud the Board’s multi-pronged strategy for next year: continuing small grant provision, supporting practitioners’ mental health, and increasing corporate sponsorship of the foundation.
On behalf of those artists in the room this evening, and all the others you have assisted, I thank you sincerely for your dedication to supporting the careers of emerging South Australian practitioners.
Your work goes a long way to ensuring our state’s esteemed position in the arts, and I am confident it will do so far into the future.
Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC
GOVERNOR OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA