• Simon Marsh, "The X-Patriot", site specific installation, Brunswick St Mall, 1992.

Monetising The Queensland Art and Creative Industry Sectors.

Published 10 September 2013, Simon Marsh.

The Queensland arts sector is currently engaging in policy reform in an effort to kickstart the overall arts investment model. The arts for all Queenslanders strategy, in essence, is designed to grow the sector whilst fostering a wide community of arts accessible to all Queenslanders. But how is this to be achieved?

By providing the broad brush strokes of the Brisbane entrepreneurial startup community – a community in turn modelled on the Silicon Valley experience – we will be able to see very clearly the overarching benefits that a slightly reworked model could afford both artistic and creative industry sectors thereby affecting a much broader community engagement with art, commerce and technology.

Monetisation is the driving force behind business startup communities. Monetisation – regardless of the venture operating on a niche artistic or cultural business model – is a reasonable requirement of any “concept” that attracts government, angel or venture capital investment. And yes whilst these various forms of investment need to be encouraged, nurtured and incentivised, investment does come at a price, in the form of equity. Initially at 10% of the projected value of the business concept, which is directly proportional to the amount granted, leaving you 39.5% of remaining equity to attract further investment if you should require it. To nutshell this formula, if an art/cultural business concept attracts $25,000 as an initial kickstart then the overall business concept is valued at $250,000. The decision-making processes behind monetisation modelling are guided by industry mentors on a weekly basis with the overall programme spanning three months.

However, before we get too far ahead of ourselves here, it is an essential part of these startup communities to have access to a centralised space.

With this kind of infrastructure providing studio’s, support and business mentoring, in effect training in what it takes to kickstart a successful niche business concept, coupled with commercial outlets, cinema, performance and gallery space operating under the main driver of commercialisation, brings to mind a contemporary Warholian factory like aesthetic where partnering with other sectors is openly encouraged in realising positive policy outcomes. Importantly this model also extends the opportunity for those involved to feel a central part of the arts and or creative industry sectors. It simply can be seen to be injecting business confidence into industries that have in the past been heavily reliant on government subsidy.

Having experienced the successful startup infrastructure – which includes both incubate and germinate programs ladened with legal and structural advise – it becomes clear that with slight modifications, this structure would also work throughout the arts and creative industries extremely efficiently. And whilst it took some time absorbing the startup vernacular, being an artist/art historian, put simply it is not rocket science. And whilst the pivot toward a more commercially viable product can be agonising and seen as artistic anathema, what becomes clear is the gradual development of an ecosystem of concepts. Ideas and concepts circulate within this ecosystem and can find realisation in purely artistic and or commercial terms. There are always various avenues of expression beyond your flagship enterprise and given time the flagship can in fact capitalise these various projects.

A realistic concern, possibly more so for artists as opposed creative industry professionals, revolves around the labelling of an artist as commercial and the seemingly negative connotations that come with this. Zeitgeist it is argued is a very powerful concept in itself, one that cannot be ignored by both the artistic and creative industry sectors.

The spirit of the times, it is argued, demands Brisbane’s very own, centralised, expansive and monetised Ian Potter like centre for the arts and creative industries. Located within the Southbank precinct: a magnet for potential investors, businesses, artists and creative industry professionals to collaborate and profit from, a magnet for all Queenslander’s to celebrate the cultural and artistic output of this great state. A burgeoning industry responsible for allowing the creative spirit of the times to take shape and flourish.


This article was commissioned by Arts Queensland in 2014 as a part of their Arts For All Queenslanders strategy blog. Arts For All Queenslanders has seemingly morphed into an aspect of the Advance Queensland initiative which is currently open to strategic art orientated pitches. 

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