I wonder how much this reluctance to promote the arts at a "higher" level is due to cultural cringe and how much is simply a consequence of our being a young country, still pushing frontiers, still searching for an identity, still with numberless materialistic problems to solve. There's still a widely-held perception that artists "don't do anything useful," with the obvious implication that utility is front and centre for a new, vigorous, successful nation. We're a long way from the cultural depth of Renaissance Italy, Baroque Holland or Expressionist Germany, for instance, which could afford a broader view of what it means to be a civilized, balanced society. We can't look back to any kind of "classical" past. All we have to revere and imitate is a bunch of larrikin settlers, a few thousand outrageously-sacrificed soldiers and a great batsman. That's not much on which to found an artistic milieu (although we've done pretty well, nevertheless). I certainly support any raising of the average Aussie's awareness of things creative and I think it's happening, perhaps not in the areas or at a level some would like, but neither do I think Australia is an artistic backwater. We have to find our own imagery. Perhaps the surging wave of Aboriginal art might be the kick we need. Who knows? I think it's just a matter of feeling our way and taking our time. I'm optimistic.