ARTISTS will hit the streets in a bid to drum up enough support to force the state government to rethink funding cuts to TAFE arts and media courses.
An electronic petition was circulated throughout the central west by Orange artists recently however the signatures are not enough.
Colour City Creatives president Aida Pottinger said members of the collective would be hitting the streets to ask people to sign the petition.
“Art is kind of like the gateway that opens up the rest of the world,” she said.
TAFE teacher and artist Victor Gordon said the funding cuts would make art courses in Orange inaccessible.
Currently a full-time certificate four in art costs under $1000. The course is five days a week. Mr Gordon said after the funding cuts come in next year a 30 hour course will cost $700. He said the cost of the certificate four was muted at between $10,000 to $15,000 up front.
“Students who aren’t subsidised can’t pay that amount, he said.
A Department of Education spokesperson said TAFE institutes would be setting prices based on the TAFE NSW commercial services policy.
“Continuing students will be individually case managed to assist them in choosing their preferred study program to complete their qualification,” the spokesperson said.
Mr Gordon said about 15 full time equivalent students take the course every year.
He isn’t hopeful the petition will work. That doesn’t mean they won’t go down without a fight.
“My personal view is that no it won’t work,” he said.
“The horse has already bolted.
“We need to embarrass the government and make it clear what they intend to do.”
Mr Gordon said the budget cuts would cost about 80 art teaching jobs.
The department spokesperson said job losses may occur if the take-up of courses offered is lower than currently occurring.
Mr Gordon said the government was de prioritising the arts. He said the arts are a gateway to future employment.
The spokesperson said fine arts courses including ceramics, sculpture and visual arts are popular in TAFE NSW
“However, job prospects and completion levels in these courses are low when compared with skills shortage areas such as health, community services, property and business services.
“The decision to commercialise fine arts was made so that TAFE NSW can continue to focus on areas of high skill needs and provide government subsidies to these skill areas.”
It is estimated that total budget savings measures in TAFE NSW will result in a reduction of around 800 positions over the next few years.
The petition is available at the Orange Regional Art Gallery.