26 July

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations at the heart of art

The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) has issued a report At the Heart of Art which is a snapshot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations in the visual arts sector.

It found in summary:

  • Corporations generating the highest average revenue from art sales are located in South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

  • Although the visual arts sector experienced a rapid growth over the past three decades, there has been a noticeable downturn since 2007 as evidenced by the following:

  • 52.1 per cent reduction in average art sales revenue generated per corporation

  • 31.2 per cent reduction in average total assets owned by corporations

  • 35.0 per cent reduction in average total equity per corporation.

  • The global financial crisis (GFC) has had a major impact on the visual arts sector.

  • The average number of people employed by corporations operating exclusively in visual arts has steadily risen—from 1.83 full-time equivalents (FTE) in 2007–08 to 4.5 FTE in 2010–11.

Common characteristics of corporations involved in visual arts are:

  • membership of one or more peak industry body

  • registered for tax concessions and/or exemptions

  • adapted their rule book to reflect the specialised nature of their activities

  • most directors are women

  • they operate an ‘open door’ policy—any community member is welcome to participate in art activities

Read the full report here