art lovers are being asked to sign an electronic petition to have TAFE arts and media courses put back on the curriculum following the state government’s decision this week to dramatically cut funding for the programs from next year.
The petition, entitled Fund Art Education in NSW TAFE, is currently circulating throughout the central west and aims to remind the government of “the urgent need for maintaining funding for accessible art education in TAFE”.
The petition states: “TAFE in NSW puts the ability to make art in the hands of people, without regard to their age, wealth or background ... [and provides] hands on training that develops the skills necessary for artists to succeed”.
Orange Regional Gallery director Alan Sisley said the education cuts made by Premier Barry O’Farrell’s government are the worse thing that’s happened to Orange “for a very long time”.
“It shows that the arts are not very important to the state Liberal government,” Mr Sisley said.
“The government has a lack of regard for the arts.”
Mr Sisley said Orange’s strong association with arts and the provision of arts education had long been a drawcard for the city.
Mr Sisley said he felt particularly bad for people who are part-way through their fine arts course who will be forced to re-enrol elsewhere.
“I’m amazed,” Mr Sisley said.
“I think it’s extremely unfair for those students who haven’t finished their courses.”
Artist Aida Pottinger said she has already signed the petition and emailed all her contacts urging them to do the same.
“Orange [TAFE) is where I trained ,” she said.
Ms Pottinger said it would be a shame for Orange to loose the “inspirational teachers” who work at TAFE.
She said the community had benefited greatly from having a vibrant arts community, which included Orange TAFE staff and students.
“I think that tourism and arts are inextricably linked.”
Ms Pottinger said while she didn’t rule out a restructure of the of the courses she said an arts faculty was important.