I'm going to ask you and everyone you know to go without art for one day.
No TV, streaming services, films, music, or dance, no gaming or VR, no books, podcasts or songs, for one entire day.
Take the art off your walls.
Go a day without reading a quote from a poem on Facebook, choose an exercise route that does not take you past murals covering expanses of brick walls.
Live an entire day without benefiting from the work of actors, directors, musicians, writers, dancers, choreographers, designers, developers and animators who, largely freelancers, contribute to a vibrant Australian society.
Those workers - art workers - have been largely excluded from our government's economic rescue package. So, let's have day without art in it.
In Germany, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Angela Merkel announced a 50 billion euro package for small business which supports artists.
Germany's culture minister Monika Grutters said: "Artists are not only indispensable, but also vital, especially now." Acknowledging the economic position of artists as freelancers she noted, "the cultural sector is characterised by a high proportion of self-employed people who now have problems with their livelihoods", but the government was "wholly aware" of the importance of the creative industries.
Imagining the workers a restored, healthy Germany will need, Merkel and her ministers included artists.
In 1935, under his New Deal program in response to the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt set up Federal Project Number 1. A main tenet was: "The arts, no less than business, agriculture, and labor, are and should be the immediate concern of the ideal Commonwealth."
But, here in Australia, freelance workers - most art workers - have been excluded from the government's Job Keeper rescue package. The arts are loved in Australia, but right now, according to the government, the workers who make them hold no value.
So, let's do a nationwide experiment. This Sunday, April 19, let's live in a world without art.
Let's get by in the void created by the absence of all those things that enhance our lives and reflect our stories.
Then, on Monday, let's wake and write a letter to our Prime Minister.
I just spent a day without art and it was ...
I am writing to request that freelance artists be included in the COVID 19 rescue packages and given the same support as other working Australians to a living income at this time.
And then send it to him and to me too if you like at:
Twitter: #adaywithoutart @Wallworthy
Lynette Wallworth is an Emmy and AACTA award winning artist/ filmmaker.
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