Author and founding director of Outlandish Arts, Gaele Sobott ran Fools’ Gold on the ACF, a series of poetry workshops, performances and critical dialogue on art, mental distress and well-being. Since finishing her campaign, Gaele has gone out of her way to donate to a range of projects such as A Tiger’s Bride, to show her support for the arts.
In our new Artist to Artist series, we chatted with Gaele to discuss why she donates to other creatives, and why it matters to her.
Firstly, a challenge: tell us about yourself in 40 words or less
If money were no object, what work of art would you consume or buy?
I’d pay Pony Horseman to compose and perform for me in an abandoned building with fantastic acoustics using whatever instruments they wished. Their performances are always intelligent, moving. They take me to another level every time.
What initially made you donate to another artist’s campaign on the ACF?
I can’t remember the first campaign I donated to but it would have been a local artist or organisation I know and respect. There are so many of us competing for ever-decreasing public funds. The government should be supporting artists more but until we make that happen, we need to help each other, pass the hat around, make sure new projects and events get off the ground.
What makes you want to give to an artist or organisation?
A good idea. Talented artists. Art with a social justice base. Originality. Generally, I go for projects that are led by artists who do not have access to traditional creative pathways and performance platforms.
Once you have donated to these campaigns, do you like to stay in touch, is it important to you?
We’ve all got heaps on our plate, so I wouldn’t demand too much but I like to be kept up to date with the details of new work and the thinking behind the work. It’s also good to celebrate other artists’ achievements once and a while. Develop a community.
What other ways do you like to encourage and support artists in your network?
There are many ways. Board membership, mentoring artists, giving time to assist artists with grant applications etc. I couldn’t do without peer feedback on new work, so I give back in that regard. Peer support is essential. Support performances and art events as much as possible by going along and taking friends. I think collaboration and in-kind assistance is vital for a dynamic and sustainable arts environment. It’s good to share resources, for example, office space or a room for workshopping, rehearsal or performance and exhibition.
What would you say to other artists who are thinking about donating to the arts?
I’d say give to small arts organisations, struggling artists, those who are experimenting, taking a risk, pushing the boundaries of what already exists. Give to art that invigorates you. Every dollar helps to create confidence, helps artists to know that there is a potential audience out there supporting them in their creatives processes and outcomes. That kind of acknowledgement is important. Those same artists may end up donating to your campaign. A whole lot of time and effort goes into mounting a fundraising campaign. It’s not easy. Support really counts. Donating reflects our capacity to act together on matters of common interest.