COVID-19: Avenues of Support for Artists and Arts Workers

Artists and arts workers are seeing their work evaporate. MAV recognises that jobs in the industry will be scarce for the immediate future as self-generated income disappears.

Along with our counterparts in the sector we are urging governments to provide urgent support.

In the meantime, here are some ways that may assist you at this critical time. 

Also, there is a Facebook group, ‘Australian Arts amidst COVID-19‘, that has updated info and tips for artists and arts workers during this period (info organised under tags on the right-hand side).

Here is a useful guide about improving mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SBS is committed to informing all Australians about the latest coronavirus developments.
News and information about coronavirus (COVID-19) is available in 63 languages.

Guide to Government COVID-19 Assistance for the Arts.

This guide sets out various assistance initiatives that are being provided by Federal and State/Territory governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to assist artists and arts workers, the guide is ordered as follows:

  • measures applicable to arts organisations and individual artists;
  • measures are then ordered by relevance to arts organisations and individual artists.

The intention is for this to be a “live” document, updated as circumstances change.

Quick Response Grants

The quick response arts grants provide accessible, flexible, agile, quick and easy to apply for funding opportunities to support Melbourne’s artistic community. Grants of up to $4000 will be available to artists and small to medium arts organisations across all disciplines and to people from all backgrounds and abilities. Support will be considered for:

  • Online content
  • The development of new or unpresented work
  • To successfully deliver a project to the public (either online or at a venue within the City of Melbourne)

Applications close: 5pm 13 Tuesday April 2021

Reconnection Grant Program

Financial assistance of up to $10,000 to support projects and events which support the wider City of Whittlesea community to reconnect.

Applications open: Monday 15 March 2021 Close: Friday 23 April 2021


One year pilot project aims to transform empty spaces into vibrant places on Fitzroy Street, St Kilda. If you create or make your own wares or IP, run a creative based community group, social enterprise or NFP and are seeking low cost or rent free space you may qualify for this activation project.

Applications Now Open


Applications now open to present at the 2021 Australian Performing Arts Exchange for artists, producers and other organisations with an interest in reaching performing arts presenters across Australia. a hybrid format on 6-10th September, with options to attend in-person at NIDA (Sydney) or online. Applications encouraged from pitching specific touring works; community based site-specific works, residencies or installations; articulating future visions or works in the pipeline; and sharing new concepts for the constantly evolving notion of “touring”. We also recognise that in 2021 many presenters won’t be there to ‘buy’ for upcoming seasons but will be looking further ahead as programming opportunities become available again.

Applications open: Monday, 22nd March

Applications close: Wednesday, 21st April, 11.59pm AEST

2022 Exhibitions

Black Cat Gallery in Collingwood is now seeking proposals for exhibitions in 2022. Artists, curators and collectives working in all mediums invited to apply.

Submissions for June Issue

Call for multilingual poetry and short prose for the next issue of the AMWP. Also looking for artwork that engages with themes of language mixing, language learning, moving between languages and modes of speech. Publication fee: $200.

Submissions close: June 2 2021

Testing Nights – EOIs

Testing Grounds is seeking EOIs from creative practitioners who want to support developing a public art project including installation, video, performance, design and more. On the last Thursday of each month, Testing Grounds will host a free creative event, where creative practitioners can test work-in-development across the outdoor site, for one night only, and receive feedback from generous public audiences.

EOIs are on-going.

Sound Recording Partnership

The Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) and the Australia Council for the Arts will deliver a grant partnership, the PPCA Sound Recording Partnership, to support five Australian artists or groups to create new sound recordings. There are five grants of, $15,000 (ex GST) each, available.

Closing Date: Tuesday 13 April 2021

1000 X 1000 Cash for Artists

A one-off emergency payment to support INDEPENDENT ARTISTS / PRODUCTION CREW / PRODUCERS IN THE PERFORMING ARTS who have been significantly affected by COVID-19 in Australia and who do not have access to a financial safety net.

Applications now open.


The renewed Artists’ Benevolent Fund hopes to provide modest but useful one-off financial assistance to Australian visual artists in crisis as a result of fire, flood, storm, serious illness, major accident, declared state or national emergencies, or some other unexpected catastrophic experience.
Funding Available: One-off payment of $2,000.
Important dates: Applications are now open, there is no deadline date for submission.

National Debt Helpline

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a challenging time for everyone in Australia (and the world).
This is a guide on steps you can take to look after yourself and your family financially in the Covid-19 pandemic.

It contains information about:

  • Emergency Relief
  • Centrelink support
  • Maintaining your rent or mortgage
  • Payment priorities
  • Making repayment arrangements
  • Accessing superannuation early

If you are in financial difficulty, free support is available at the National Debt Helpline: 1800 007 007. You can speak to a financial counsellor to get advice.

Support Act

Support Act are launching an appeal to raise $20m so that we can provide some level of crisis relief to music workers who are facing financial hardship.

Support Act need to raise these funds in order to be in a position to provide the support that is being requested by our community.

Support Act will make an announcement once they are able to do this.

I Lost My Gig

The Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN) and the Australian Festival Association (AFA) have joined with industry partners to tally the impact of lost gigs on Australians – and hear your stories. They are working to find ways to support people and businesses who have been affected.

You can leave your details at the following link so you can be connected to funding opportunities and other support.

Arts Law Centre of Australia

The arts sector has been hit hard with cancellations and disruption in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Arts Law has put together answers to some of the most common question’s they havereceived from artists and arts organisations.

Arts Law is a community legal service providing legal advice and support to artists and arts organisations. Where Arts Law may not be equipped to help with certain issues, particularly non-legal ones, they have linked to other services that they recommend you contact.

Theatre Network Australia – 1000 x 1000: Crisis Cash for Artists 

MAV is supporting Theatre Network Australia’s fundraising campaign 1000 x 1000 Crisis Cash for Artists

We know that many artists will not be able to access government support as a result of the short term contract nature of arts gigs. They will not meet the criteria of 12 months employment with one employer. This fund is essential for those at risk of falling through the cracks.

If you are in a position to donate, please consider giving to this campaign.
If you are an independent artist struggling financially, with no access to a financial safety net, please request support and apply to the fund.

Theatre Network Australia (TNA) and Live Performance Australia (LPA)

TNA has joined with Live Performance Australia and other performing arts and music industry bodies to urge the government to fund an urgent package to prevent a complete and permanent industry shutdown, costing thousands of jobs and forcing the closure of performing arts and commercial companies and venues for good.

National Association of Visual Arts (NAVA)

The National Association of Visual Arts (NAVA) provides an Advocacy Toolkit so you can assist in the campaign to get immediate support for artists.

Media Entertainment Arts Alliance (MEAA)

The MEAA, along with other organisations in these sectors, is calling for targeted industry support and a national scheme of paid leave for any workers who are self-employed, casual or whose employer cannot provide them with paid leave in the event of a stand down.

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance is conducting a survey on the impact of coronavirus on work and income in the media, entertainment and arts industries.

Diversity Arts Australia

Diversity Arts Australia is gathering data to help us advocate for culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) creatives affected by cancellations and postponements in the creative industries.

If any artists of colour/CALD artists are experiencing extreme hardship, please contact us for advice at

Most importantly, please take the health and safety of our community seriously, and practise social distancing, and self-isolation if you are unwell to slow the spread of COVID-19. For more information about COVID-19, click here.

MAV is following the advice of federal and state governments on social distancing, by supporting our staff to work from home. As such, the office phone will be unattended for the foreseeable future.
Please stay in contact with us however, by email and mobile phones.
(All MAV staff emails are available here)
We are keen to hear from you, especially if you need additional support.
For any enquiries contact MAV at

Image: Interwoven. Photo by Shane Carey