At Art Pharmacy, creative vision means more to us than just implementing art in spaces. We are committed to creating meaningful and impactful change in local communities, and making culture accessible to everyone, everywhere.
As Australia’s first Arts and Culture B-Corporation, we are committed to fostering diversity and sustainability in Australian art practices and bringing art to all communities.
In the fiscal year 2022-2023, Art Pharmacy contributed a total of $910,217.15 back into the creative economy.
We worked with or pitched to 303 artists across Australia, spanning 23 different artistic mediums. Within this group, 24% were First Nations artists, 15% were from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, 25% hailed from rural communities, and 65% identified as female or gender non-conforming.
The Importance and Struggle of Art
Art is not only the bedrock of culture – it is also an essential factor in economic, educational, and social wellbeing. It facilitates a positive impact and a greater sense of meaning into everyday lives.
Unfortunately, the art industry is in a precarious position. Every individual who creates, consumes, contributes to, or benefits from the arts is impacted by the decrease in funding by government groups and the disproportionate devastation of the industry by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- 84% of everyday Australians see arts and culture as having a positive impact on their lives (‘Why arts engagement matters’, Australia Council for the Arts, 2020), but only 1.2% of government expenditure goes into the creative sector funding, with this figure declining 18.9% since 2007 (‘The Culture Fix – Creative People, Places and Industries’, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Australia, 2022).
- Over 50% of Australian citizens said the arts had a ‘big’ or ‘very big’ impact on their happiness, wellbeing, and mental health (‘Creating Our Future: arts and creativity increasingly important to all Australians’, Australia Council for the Arts Australian Arts Council, 2020).
- Nearly every Australian citizen – an overwhelming 98% of the population – engage in the arts in some way (‘Creating Our Future: arts and creativity increasingly important to all Australians’, Australia Council for the Arts Australian Arts Council, 2020).
- Over 50% of cultural business ceased to operate as of March 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic (Polling – Lockdown and the arts, The Australia Institute, 2020).
- For the financial year 2014-15, the average gross creative income for a visual artist was $28,800 and the average total gross income $47,000 (‘Making Art Work: An Economic Study of Professional Artists in Australia’, Throsby & Petetskaya, 2017).
- Arts, craft, and design practitioners are rarely covered by formal wage requirements as they are often not classified as employees, and in the absence of legally-binding minimum pay rates set by the Fair Work Commissions (formally AIRC), community standards as to what constitutes fair and reasonable pay have not evolved in the arts industry. With many artists, employers, and buyers unaware of what should be earned, many art practitioners are unable to generate sufficient income from their art (National Association of Visual Arts in Australia).
As an Australian art consultancy working across both the public and private realm, we recognise the current challenges facing artists, clients, and communities. Our Impact Business Model addresses two key problems the arts are facing:
- Lack of meaningful arts and culture in the lives of everyday Australians.
- The inability for artists to maintain a steady, permanent, and reliable income
As one of Australia’s leading art consultancies, Art Pharmacy aims to bring more art into Australian communities.
Our art consulting service offers our clients ethical, customised, diverse and sustainable solutions to their art needs; creatively realising their aspirations, inspirations, or sense of place.
The importance of the arts on the wellbeing of individuals and communities often goes underestimated. Through creative projects and comprehensive art strategies, we help our clients to foster greater employee satisfaction and further stakeholder engagement. We actively encourage creative and collaborative community involvement with our processes, building connections between artists, clients, and communities for site-specific art that has deeper meaning and impact.
We facilitate the creation of impactful and innovative art projects for our clients and artists alike by leveraging our many years of experience, genuine passion for the creative community, strong connection with the many actors of the arts ecology and longstanding partnerships with members of governments and council bodies.
Our artistic outcomes are often on display in the public realm and reach many members of the community. Local consultation plays an important role in our art strategy process and in the development of an art narrative so we strive to facilitate open dialogue and connections. Consultation is essential for the work of art to be engaging, relevant, and speak to community values. Our ethical processes and authentic artist engagement makes the creative experience enriching and engaging for our clients and the wider creative community.
We implement art that:
- Develops a sense of community and diversity through compassion and understanding;
- Empowers individuals to create a more engaged community space by providing a platform for expression;
- Challenges traditional art trends, and pushes boundaries of innovation and technology;
- Makes places into destinations, and change the way people see their everyday surroundings;
- Makes the world a more enjoyable place
As placemakers and specialists in arts strategy, Art Pharmacy aims to foster and grow Australian artistic practices.
At Art Pharmacy, our mission is to support artists by working alongside them to grow and expand their practice through commission. We develop sustainable and long-lasting relationships with artists to support and develop their work. We build our art projects based on respect, empowerment, participation, inclusion, and open dialogue that empowers all participants in the creative process.
It is fundamental that artists are paid fairly. We ensure the art project budgets are structured appropriately and that artists are always paid for their concepts, regardless of whether they are selected for the project. We encourage clear deliverables, open communication and a relationship built on collaboration. Whilst acknowledging the project-specific constraints and our advisory direction, the artists’ visions and creative ideas have to be taken on board.
Diversity amongst the artists we work with is of the utmost importance. As such, we ensure to spotlight creative practitioners that are First Nations, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), LGBTQI+, female or non-binary, living in regional and remote areas, from the refugee community, and living with a disability.
We work with a wide range of clients including governments, councils, developers, asset managers, healthcare providers, construction companies, urban designers, architects, luxury brands, cultural organisations, and corporate and private clients to realise creative visions.
At Art Pharmacy, we endeavour to build strong and ongoing partnerships with clients who value our expertise; these sustainable relationships are built on trust, respect, and collaboration. We aim to develop our clients’ understanding of the importance of diverse art in public and private spaces to help promote community wellbeing.
Additionally, we work with a network of suppliers who assist us with a range of services to allow us to deliver our artistic outcomes. Some of these include structural engineers, technical specialists, fabricators, photographers, videographers, framers, printers and installers. We strive for strong relationships with our suppliers where we work together on numerous projects with an understanding of best practice and standards, ensuring quality control and ongoing support to our local network. These contractors are selected according to our supplier code of conduct and reflect the values of our business, as well as the values of our clients and artists.
Our relationships with clients and suppliers promote:
- Social inclusion and equality that is respectful of diversity and inclusive of all needs and differences that empowers clients and artists alike;
- Creative collaboration and participation through a clear and straightforward process;
- Development of skills and capability to best meet the needs, requirements and ambitions of projects;
- Clear communication with a clear understanding of expectations and the consultancy process.