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Tasmania is the arts end of Australia

IT HAS no world-famous Opera House, let alone an opera company. It misses out on most touring music acts and exhibitions.

Yet Tasmania is the artiest state, according to the ABC's Limelight, an independent fine music and arts magazine.

''Neither NSW nor Victoria, despite being blessed with Australia's busiest arts metropolises, have particularly high participation rates in the arts per capita,'' Limelight magazine concludes in its June issue.

In contrast, Tasmania has the highest per capita rate of people working in the arts sector and attending arts events, based on figures provided by the Australia Council compiled before the Museum of Old and New Art was opened last year.

''If you stop a random passer-by on the streets of Hobart, that person is more likely to be involved in the arts than a random passer-by in Melbourne.''

Or indeed Sydney, which has lower arts audiences despite its major companies, galleries and museums.

Sydney's cultural venues and events tend to be concentrated in wealthy inner-city areas, but the director of Arts Tasmania, Katherine Hough, said the Apple Isle had a strong tradition of local community art.