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.


The updated Guide to Government COVID-19 Assistance for the Arts 2021 covers the range of support payments for individuals and organisations, provided through the Australian and state and territory governments.

In particular, this edition includes clarification around the eligibility of arts and creative workers for the COVID-19 disaster payment where they have lost hours of work due to lockdowns in other locations, even if they do not live in that location. Please refer to Section 2 of the Guide, which covers assistance for artists and arts workers.

Support Act – Providing Assistance to Performing Artists

Support Act Support Act provides financial relief for music and performing arts workers in crisis, mental health counselling through the Wellbeing Helpline, assistance with funeral expenses and online fundraising appeals through their Help a Mate Service. With funding support from the Australian Government through the Office for the Arts, Support Act is providing cash grants to music and performing arts industry professionals impacted by COVID-19.

Creative Neighbourhoods EOI

For a two year tenancy in 12-16 Peel Street Collingwood. Creative organisations and artist collectives are encouraged to apply, with the view the space will be used for the purposes of artist studios and/or as an administration centre of an arts organisation. Council is offering approx 70% discount on rent.

Submissions close  midnight 24 October 2021

Sustaining Creative Workers Initiative

Up to $5,000 for individuals, sole traders and freelancers; and,

Up to $10,000 for collectives, groups and micro-organisations/businesses (micro organisations/businesses are those that employ less than 5 Full Time Equivalent staff).

Up to $2,500 in additional access funding is available for applications from Deaf and Disabled creatives, artists, arts workers, and disability-led organisations/businesses.

You can apply anytime up to 5pm, Monday November 22, 2021. Two rounds will be assessed during the program open period: Round One: closes 5pm Tuesday October 26. Applicants who submit before this date will be assessed in Round One and advised of Outcomes in the week commencing Monday November 15. Any applicant who does not receive funding in Round One will automatically be considered in Round Two. Up to 25% of the total funding pool will be distributed through Round One. Round Two: closes 5pm Monday November 22. Applicants who submit to Round Two will be advised of Outcomes in the week commencing December 13. At least 75% of the total funding pool will be distributed through Round Two.

Applications close 22 November 2021 5pm

International Engagement Fund

This pilot fund supports the Australian arts, cultural and creative sectors to explore opportunities to engage internationally, in the wake of unprecedented global change and disruption. The vision is for Australian arts, culture and creativity to be thriving and to be known globally for its innovation, sustainability, complexity and diversity. This fund prioritises remote, online and hybrid modes of cross-border engagement while international travel is restricted.

Applications close 9 November 2021 3pm

Digital Theatre Makers Residency Program

April-May 2022; $2,000 provided. For early-mid career artists. Four participants from Australia and two participants from Singapore begin a process of contact, investigation, and digital collaboration.

Applications close 9 November 2021 3pm

Australia-Singapore Digital Residencies

$5,000 to seed research, projects or exchanges and collaborative processes between artists and/or creative practitioners from the two countries, with the potential to spark new connections or deepen existing relationships which may result in co-creation of new work. This opportunity is not tied to specific creative or cultural outputs. The focus of this digital residency is concept development, research, collaboration and exchange. Dates: January 2022- July 2022.

Applications close 9 November 2021 3pm

General Drama Production

General drama of any broadcast format is eligible for this program, including telemovies, telemovie packages and series (no distinction is drawn between series and mini-series). A compelling case must be demonstrated for Screen Australia to fund more than 26 viewing hours of any one project, including multiple series. Screen Australia will not contribute more than 40 per cent of the total budget, inclusive of any Producer Offset amount, other than in exceptional circumstances. Screen Australia investment is capped at $2 million in any one general drama.

Applications close 15 November 2021

Children’s Programs

Children’s programs of any broadcast format is eligible for this program, including telemovies, telemovie packages and series (no distinction is drawn between series and mini-series). The content can be animation or live action, preschool, drama or factual and do not have to be ‘P’ or ‘C’ program as classified by the ACMA. However, the primary audience for the content must be children, as opposed to families generally. Screen Australia will not contribute more than 45 per cent of the total budget, inclusive of any Producer Offset amount, other than in exceptional circumstances. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Program Operations team on 1800 507 901 before applications are submitted. Funding up to $500,000.

Applications close 25 November 2021

Digital Fellowship Program

5 practitioners based in each of Australia and New Zealand get together to co-develop their digital practice and set directions for the future of the arts in our region. January-June 2022 program includes online gatherings, mentoring, and $10,000 funding for each participant.

Applications close 30 November 2021 3pm

The Marten Bequest

The Marten Bequest Scholarships for artists aged 21-35 to explore, study and develop their artistic gifts through travelling either interstate and/or overseas. Categories are: acting, architecture, ballet, instrumental music, painting, poetry, prose, sculpture and singing. Scholarships are each worth $50,000, payable in quarterly instalments over two years.

Applications close 1 February 2022 3pm

Arts Projects for Individuals and Groups

Grants are available from $10,000 to $50,000. Supported activities must last no longer than two years from the proposed start date. You must be an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident, and a practicing artist or arts professional.

Applications close 1 March 2022 3pm

Covid-19 Small Grants

FECCA will administer grants of $2500, $3500 or $5000 to groups or organisations to fund short-term, one-off, communication and outreach projects that aim to achieve the following objectives:

  • Address barriers to accessing information on COVID-19 and the vaccination program
  • Provide the opportunity for communities to identify and respond to issues and concerns surrounding COVID-19 and the vaccination program
  • Provide accurate and culturally relevant information on the COVID-19 Vaccination Program
  • Foster community involvement and participation
  • Encourage partnerships among community organisations

Applications close end of January 2022


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

2022 Exhibitions

Black Cat Gallery has a new home in Brunswick St Fitzroy, and is seeking proposals for exhibitions in 2022. Artists, curators and collectives working in all mediums invited to apply.

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.

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