National Assistance Program for the Arts

Space Practising Tools - Gail Hastings
Space Practising Tools - Gail Hastings

Biggest thanks to the National Assistance Program for the Arts for the one-off payment I received in May.

I spent lockdown writing in-depth applications for assistance from federal, state, local and subscriber arts agencies, to be continually rejected one after the other. At one stage I submitted my name, only — frustrated by the time, thought, hope and expectation each application extracted — to see that rejected too.

Nothing worse than spending time on an activity that generates continual rejection during a pandemic lockdown that has caused most to ride its various waves of panic. Governmental safety nets were stoically put in place to avoid this type of degenerating despair for many in society — except for artists.

My time would have been better spent focussing on my Space Practising Tools project, a part of which is pictured above. Arts agencies do not generally see my art as art, since it consists of the space we look ‘through’ everyday, rather than ‘at’.

For example, while you’ve no doubt spotted the three boxes on the table in the photo above, these are not the point of this particular Space Practising Tool. The point is the scoop of space at the front of each, which is not dissimilar to the scoop of space of the adjacent windowsill.

The similarity forces the first to be treated not unlike the second — ignored as just a part of the room.

This is the situation this particular Space Practising Tool has somehow to solve, where it is pictured here in midway development.

In writing this I hope to emphasise why I am thankful to the National Assistance Program for the Arts for the payment they provided. For in their distribution letter they wrote:

This initiative was created and supported by the below named-group to provide some support to Australia’s arts industry through the COVID-19 crisis. The arts are a critical part of our culture, community and national identity. We see you and we value your contribution to life in Australia.

The last sentence of the letter from the National Assistance Program for the Arts still makes me emotional: ‘We see you and we value your contribution to life in Australia’.

Thank you.

Participating Philanthropists and Philanthropic Entities:

Andrew Myer AM & Kerry Gardner AM
Ann & Warwick Johnson
Berwyn Roberts & Jennifer Mackenzie
Carrillo Gantner AC and Ziyin Gantner
Creative Partnerships Australia
Darin Cooper Foundation
Day Family Foundation
Doc Ross Foundation
FWH Foundation
Inner North Community Foundation
James and Diana Ramsay Foundation
Kate and Stephen Shelmerdine Family Foundation
Kathryn Fagg AO
Kim Williams AM
Lindisfarne Foundation
Mandy and Edward Yencken & Family
Mark and Louise Nelson
Minderoo Foundation
Nunn Dimos Foundation
Robert Bishop
Philanthropy Australia
Sarah Myer and Baillieu Myer AC
Sidney Myer Fund
Simon Mordant AM and Catriona Mordant AM
Spinifex Trust
Tim Fairfax AC
The Skrzynski Family Sky Foundation
Vallejo Gantner
Yulgilbar Foundation