By Adrian Doyle, Blender Studios
Originally posted: May 18th 2018
So this week it was announced that the government is giving half a billion dollars to all things Aussie Rules.
I have no problems with Aussie Rules. Don’t get me wrong I love the idea of Melbourne being one of the best cities in the world for sport. During the tennis Melbourne is awesome!
Melbourne has fast become an international city and it is investing heavily in sport infrastructure. This is great for Melbourne and has pushed Melbourne to the top of the sporting world stage.
And I agree that football is part of the Melbourne suburban culture. I played it as a kid in the Frankston league. I was never very good, part of the problem was that I couldn’t wear my glasses whilst I played so I couldn’t really see the ball.
But, like many people in Melbourne, my interest in footy dwindled as I picked up the spray can and began to make marks on the streets. I began to draw, paint and graffiti on everything.
I would draw people in the train, on the bus, everywhere. And for me it was amazing to be able to grow up, as an artist, in such an amazing and vibrant city.
Melbourne is still living off the creative past, back in the 90s when Melbourne was an amazing city where workers went home to the suburbs after work and on Sundays the city was empty.
This was a wonderful time for creative Melbourne as there was an abundant amount of space for artists to build studios and galleries, the city was basically empty and the artists moved in creating a centralised artistic community. This led to the creation of creative bars, secret spaces, hidden galleries and the urban art movement, which made Melbourne’s meteoric rise to the cultural king of Australasia.
Melbourne has changed from a colloquial backwater with amazing studios and galleries, to an international city which is famous for its food, culture, sports and arts. It has broken the centralised art world into different diasporatic communities that now, often never get the chance to interact. The studios have all become apartments and skyscrapers and many of the good lanes have slowly disappeared and become vast investment properties for overseas investors.
I believe that the art and culture in Melbourne brings as much revenue and credibility as any sport. We have the world’s largest public art gallery and some great national and international galleries.
Yet, I believe that the amount of money that is being put into football will not give the taxpayers bang for their bucks. I think if we could figure out how many people come to Melbourne because of its laneways, culture and art it would be similar to the numbers that visit Melbourne for sport.
That’s many millions of dollars for the Victorian economy. This helps hotels, cafes and yes the Melbourne street art tours. The street art tours alone get over 30,000 guests a year.
It is a massive tourism drawcard. So why doesn’t it get the same funding that sport gets? People have moved from all over the world to try and make it as an artist in Melbourne and the talent is thick and fast.
If the Melbourne art scene got the same sort of funding as football, Melbourne would become the greatest artistic city in the world and the benefits would know no boundaries. So why has this decision to fund footy over art been made? I really would like to know the exact figure of people that travel to Melbourne because of sport and or arts. I would like the government to tell us artist why we are not important.
We have made Melbourne great and all the government and the rich developers have done is sell us out at every turn. It is time to re-think our policy on the arts and what we value here in Melbourne.
Just remember a city is only as good as its culture.