On Wednesday 3 September the Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) celebrated its 30th anniversary with a gala fundraiser dinner at NSW Parliament House. The dinner, featuring art, performances, and tributes from staff, presidents, clients and supporters was a true celebration of the achievements of Arts Law in its 30 years of assisting Australia’s artists. The evening also was also a financial success raising funds for Arts Law and its service for Indigenous artists, “Artists in the Black”.
MC Andrew O’Keefe hosted the evening with trademark charisma and humour. The guests were treated to performances from David Campbell, international performer and recording artist and Krista Pav, an up and coming Indigenous blues and roots artist. Bronwyn Bancroft, director of Boomalli Cooperative, spoke on her experiences as an artist using Art Law’s services, giving examples of Arts Law’s “exemplary contribution directly to the well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”. Unable to make it on the night, the Hon Michael Kirby, Arts Law’s first President, also shared some thoughts on Arts Law’s journey via video. Rupert Myer, Chair of the Australia Council for the Arts, toasted Arts Law at the conclusion of the evening.
Arts Law also held an online and live art auction featuring over 40 pieces of Aboriginal art as part of the gala. All the artworks were ethically sourced from Aboriginal art centres from regional and remote communities around Australia. Arts Law has built relationships with these centres through the outreach work of the Artists in the Black service. The auction was a triumph with many pieces selling for well above their reserve. A significant percentage of the profits will go directly to the artists and the art centres that created these works.
Since its incorporation in 1984 Arts Law has given well over 70 000 advices to artists, has run 2000 educational workshops and currently publishes more than 250 different resources to help artist get a better deal. Over the last 20 years Arts Law has also advocated for better rights for artists in the areas of copyright, moral rights, freedom of expression, privacy, resale royalties and Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property. Over the last 10 years the Artists in the Black service has assisted and educated 9122 Indigenous artists.
As the only community legal centre in Australia that assists artists to understand their rights and avoid exploitation Arts Law is a vital and unique organisation. The funds raised from this gala dinner will help Arts Law continue to provide and grow these services so that they may continue to empower the nation’s artists.