ABC TV is strengthening its commitment to the Arts in 2010, with the launch of a new digital arts gateway that is set to become the premiere online space for the arts throughout the country; a restyled arts program, Art Nation; and host of commissioned series, documentaries and specials to premiere throughout the year.

Director of Television Kim Dalton says the new arts strategy positions ABC TV to fully engage audiences with the arts. “As more and more Australians rely on the internet for news and entertainment, ABC TV is responding by consolidating our arts presence in those spaces. This multi-platform approach to our arts coverage ensures we can utilise the full resources of ABC to provide the most comprehensive arts coverage in Australia, and give audiences more choice in how they consume that content.”

Officially launching as part of the REVEALING THE ARTS conference, will link communities of artists and arts audiences with one another. All arts programs and stories from ABC TV, News, Radio and Online will be available as video or audio podcasts to provide the most up-to-date national and international coverage. A weekly newsletter will point people to the site’s new features and stories.

The Arts Gateway will include video and photo blogs of artists and reporters worldwide.  22 genres will be covered through the Arts Gateway and it will be the natural home of a range of arts communities and the gateway to ABC TV’s artist-related initiatives such as Artpost, iArts and ABC2 Live Presents and also ABC Pool.  

It will offer daily news about Australian and international art stories and reviews and the Events Diary will cover a comprehensive array performance, exhibitions and festivals from around metropolitan, regional and rural Australia. 

Rolling out over the next few months will be an online exhibition space which can be individually curated by users. The Arts Gateway will also soon feature Arts on the Map – an initiative of The Australia Council for the Arts – which accesses information and stories from 185 arts organisations across the nation through Google Earth. Users will be able to search the site by artform and by state, and create their own flying tours.   Arts on the Map is also available

“We applaud the ABC for offering new digital platforms for our artists,” said Kathy Keele, CEO for the Australia Council for the Arts. “The ABC shares with us the priority in this digital era of finding new opportunities for new audiences to access and participate in the creative experience.”

Complementing is the new weekly magazine program, ART NATION. The half-hour program will contain news, reviews, performance, features and interviews. A key component of the program is showcasing the work that has premiered on the Arts Gateway and sent in from artists from around the country. This weekly program will run for the full year without the traditional break for sport in September.

In addition, 2010 will see the premiere of a range of arts programs including BUSH SLAM  – a six-part series hosted by Greig Pickhaver, which follows a poetry slam competition throughout regional Australia: ABC2 LIVE PRESENTS – which will kick off with Opera Australia’s extraordinary commission,  BLISS, a collaboration with Peter Carey, Brett Dean and Neil Armfield;  ART AND SOUL – a three-part Indigenous art series hosted by Hetti Perkins from the award-winning director of Samson and Delilah, Warwick Thornton: THE MATILDA CANDIDATE – a documentary that explores the theme of Australia’s famous song:  RUDELY INTERRUPTED – a rock-doco that follows the band Rudely Interrupted on their first world tour:  and RE-ENCHANTMENT – an interactive broadband project that explores why fairy tales continue to entertain adult audiences. 

Renowned Australian documentary filmmaker Bob Connelly returns to the ABC with MAKING MUSIC, following High School students over 18 months as they prepare for classical music concert at the Opera House: LOST FOR WORDS (working title) tracks acclaimed Pitjantjatjara actor, Trevor Jamieson, as he sets out to bring his hit stage show Ngapartji Ngapartji home to the remote community of Ernabella: SHADOWPLAY features photographer Anton Corbijn and his celebrity portrait subjects such as Bono, Wim Wenders, Michael Stipe, The Killers and Depeche Mode: and INDONESIA CALLING, a feature length documentary, focuses on the making of Joris Ivens’ 1945 film “Indonesia Calling”. 

Continuing in 2010 will be regular arts programs At the Movies, First Tuesday Book Club and Jennifer Byrne Presents.

The 10pm arts slot, ARTSCAPE continues with an exciting line up including SALT – a half-hour award winning documentary following photo artist Murray Fredericks on a solo pilgrimage to Lake Eyre: special coverage of the Brisbane Asia Pacific Arts Triennial presented by Andrew Frost; A THOUSAND DIFFERENT ANGLES, a documentary portrait about the life and work of extraordinary abstract sculptor Inge King; the ARTISTS AT WORK format continues with a profile on contemporary painter Ben Quilty; THE ART OF WALKING presented by celebrated novelist and cultural provocateur Will Self; and a second series of the award winning three part series ANATOMY exploring art practice, the body and sex. 

Other highlights for the ABC1 schedule will be the eight-part series, SIMON SCHAMA’S POWER OF ART, on some of history’s most famous artists; ANNIE LEIBOVITZ: LIFE THROUGH A LENS a feature-length bio-pic directed by her younger sister, Barbara; BAROQUE written and presented by Waldemar Januszczak, this three-part series explores the importance and impact of this art movement as it travelled from Catholic Rome to Protestant London:  and INFINITE SPACE; THE ARCHITECTURE OF JOHN LAUTNER  which looks at the work of American architect  whose dream was to create ‘architecture that has no beginning and no end’. 

Head of Arts and Entertainment, Amanda Duthie says the new strategy will offer the arts community exciting ways to reach audiences. “We continue to develop and commission an eclectic range of programs featuring art in all its forms and this year’s schedule will inspire, delight and amaze. The interplay between ART NATION and the Arts Gateway means artists can upload their work –be it video, animation, still images or other formats – to the site and we can feature the best of this on the television program.” has been developed with the support of the Australia Council for the Arts which continues to work with ABC TV on fostering creative partnerships with arts organisations around Australia.


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