THE loss of a fine arts department at TAFE Western Institute Orange would be devastating for the community according to the art department’s ex head teacher.
From January 2013, sculpture, ceramics and visual arts will no longer be subsidised with course costs expected to skyrocket up to $15,000 per year for each student.
Artist and TAFE teacher Victor Gordon said while he would not speak on behalf of the campus, he believed the department’s loss would be felt by the artistic community.
Mr Gordon said the decision to cut government subsidies for courses would lead to people not being able to afford fine arts training.
“TAFE art training in Orange is pretty much a thing of the past,” he said.
“Many of the art names in and around Orange teach at TAFE or are students.”
A department of education and communities spokesperson told the Central Western Daily on Monday that while fine arts courses were popular, TAFE was changing its focus.
“TAFE NSW needs to focus its government funding on areas of jobs growth and high skills need to support the economy,” the spokesperson said.
Until January this year, Mr Gordon had been head teacher at the Orange campus arts department for 10 years and is now a TAFE arts teacher, and said he had seen the impact training has had on helping to establish artists.
“There is going to be no enticement for artists to come to Orange and it may encourage people to move away,” he said.
Mr Gordon said he believed 80 full-time teaching positions across NSW would be made redundant by the end of the year, with himself and one other Orange arts teacher it the firing line.
“It’s a tragedy for me because I’ve dedicated 10 years of my life to teaching people in western NSW,” he said.
“It’s much more dire than anyone realises...unless you have 10 to 15 people willing to pay $15,000 each it just won’t happen.
“The future of art training is not looking good but you can’t repress the artistic spirit.”