Dear Moreland council.

by Alex from Maybe ( ) Together

A little on my soapbox about the following:
Article 1: Moreland buys art.
Article 2: Art vs Toliets

Dear Councillors,

I am writing to express  concern about the recent publicity and discourse around the purchase of art, the role of arts & council.

Firstly, I’d like to point out we live in Melbourne. A place infested with artists. Artists add to the gentrification of an area. It adds economic value. It makes a city more “liveable”*.

Brunswick and Coburg (and increasingly further north of Moreland) are where many artists live. It’s why people live here. It’s one of the key reasons housing prices have gone up & artists are moving west and north – we are increasingly being pushed out.

I don’t want to discuss the purchase of Penny Byrne’s work. I don’t want to ask how much is $5,500 in the scheme of the Moreland budget? Or if the work is even underpriced. Or how impressed I am by key programs you have run in Moreland that advocate for women and artists – and why this work is a fitting contemporary acquisition. Or how art is an investment, not only in the artist, but the actual dollar value of it will increase over time.

What I want to discuss is the offensive debate that has been happening in the media. “Art vs Toilets”. I am appalled. That councillors in Melbourne, let alone Moreland have decided to have this conversation. This is not only completely backward in policy, but small thinking, petty and unrepresentative of a significant portion of your residents.

Your residents are more intelligent than this conversation you have tried to have.

I know there are council members on either side of this discussion. And I know there are significantly different demographics across Moreland. And i know that you always need to make tough decisions. But The Arts isn’t one of them. Debate in the newspapers about $100,000, debate about inventive and brave policy, fight about the big things – not the small & petty.

You (after much debate) part-funded the aMoment Caravan. This was $2,500. We spent a day in Glenroy, and this is some of what happenned.

They showed  vision and depth.
It inspired me.

I hope they inspire you too.

Yours sincerely.
Alex Desebrock.