Plans to improve arts coverage in Australia’s Classical Music and Arts Magazine have heavyweight industry support.

In August, Australia’s Classical Music and Arts Magazine launched a campaign to raise funds to improve the reach of its National arts coverage. Managed with the help of the Australian Cultural Fund, a fundraising platform for Australian artists established in 2003, the campaign is gathering momentum with donations coming in, and many arts leaders voicing their support for the publication and the plans to develop and expand it.

“As space shrinks in traditional print media and electronic media dedicates scant air time to the arts, coverage in Limelight becomes vital for the survival not only of major cultural institutions but also of the already beleaguered small to medium arts sector,” says Leo Schofield AM, Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. “Limelight is now the sole standing repository of informed critical appraisal. Further, it aspires to a level of journalism long since abandoned by popular media obsessed with celebrity and spectacle.”

Limelight magazine is not only an entertaining and informative publication, it’s a vital voice in the Australian arts landscape,” agrees Sydney Symphony Orchestra Managing Director Rory Jeffes.

Limelight publisher Andrew Batt-Rawden

Originally an ABC title, Limelight was bought as an independent title in 2013 by Andrew Batt-Rawden to ensure its future. He is now keen to take the publication to the next level. The campaign aims to raise $80,000 to expand its coverage of the small to medium sector as well as a wider coverage of the national scene by engaging a professional journalist on a part-time basis in each state. It also hopes to raise $25,000 to upgrade its digital platform.

“Ever since I joined the magazine, I’ve wanted to increase our coverage outside of NSW where our staff are based,” says Limelight editor Clive Paget. “With arts coverage on the decline in mainstream media, it’s now more vital than ever that we reach out to help promote arts events right across the nation, but to do that we really do need the help of readers and those passionate about the future of the arts and arts journalism in Australia.”

Bethwyn Serow, Executive Director AMPAG (Australian Major Performing Arts Group) endorses the plan to expand Limelight’s team of journalists. “Limelight has an important national role in publishing performing arts news, reviews and commentary. Having journalists with performing arts expertise located in every state will help facilitate national conversations and awareness of the breadth of work being created as well as the creators involved – this is essential for a vibrant and engaged arts sector,” she says.

Music Australia CEO Chris Bowen agrees. “Platforms that embrace and champion the whole classical artform are rare – Limelight magazine does just that, and exceedingly well. We fully support their vision for growth,” he says.

The campaign is a case of “every cent helps”. Donors commit rather than pledge funds and all donations are taken into account at the end of the campaign. The donor also benefits, as anything over $2 is tax deductible through the ACF.

“If we even only get the initial portion of our goal, it will greatly help, but if we’re able to get to the entire goal, we’ll be able to seriously improve our coverage of all states whilst maintaining the high standards we currently have,” says Batt-Rawden. “By nurturing the country’s arts and encouraging on-going, critical engagement with local artists, we will offer Australia a much-needed informed, supportive and independent voice.”

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