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.

International Curators Program: Asia Pacific Triennial x TarraWarra Biennial

For curators, creative and cultural producers who identify as First Nations and/or of the Asia Pacific diaspora based in Australia. Funding to participate in a series of online and in-person exchanges in partnership with the 10th Asia Pacific Triennial (APT10) in Brisbane in 2021-22 and TarraWarra Biennial in Healesville in 2023. Grant amount: $6000 for travel and participation costs.

Applications close 12 October 2021 3pm

Touring Victoria

Touring Victoria provides support for Victorian arts and cultural organisations or professional creative practitioners to tour a professional production, performance, exhibition or program to, or from, regional and outer-metropolitan Victoria. There is no upper limit on funding amounts. This is the only round of Touring Victoria for this financial year. There will be no Touring Victoria funding round in the first half of 2022. Applications close: Thursday 7 October 2021 3pm

Applications close Thursday 7 October 2021 3pm

Multicultural Communities Outreach Program

Funds multicultural media, community members and organisations to produce informative, engaging content that provides information about the COVID-19 vaccination program and encourages COVIDSafe behaviour. The program will support the production and distribution of content by multicultural communities, for multicultural communities. $5,000 – $100,000

Applications close Thursday 7 October 2021 5pm

Creative Learning Partnerships 2022

Open to all Victorian schools to engage a creative professional or organisation to undertake a creative partnership project at the school. This includes Catholic, Government and Independent schools. A single payment of $10,000 for projects with an individual creative professional working with the school for approximately 20 days. OR A single payment of $35,000 for projects with an arts or cultural organisation working with the school for at least 20 days.

Applications close 30 September 2021

Making Spaces – Arts Residencies

Residencies December 2021 – June 2022, at Blak Dot Gallery, BRUDI (Brunswick Design and Innovation Centre), Brunswick Library, Brunswick Town Hall (Seat at the Table), Coburg Library, Schoolhouse Studios and Siteworks. Open to individuals and groups in the arts and creative industries, with a connection to the City of Moreland (not necessarily a resident). Each residency includes the use of a space for 1-5 months duration and a small stipend for the resident of $1,000 (regardless of residency duration). Info session: Wednesday 15 September 12:30pm. Bookings required, see link.

Applications close: Sunday 3rd October 2021

Playing Australia: Regional Touring Fund

The Regional Performing Arts Touring program (Playing Australia) supports performing arts to reach regional and remote communities across Australia. Grants are available to support the net touring and other designated costs associated with tours. There is no limit on the amount that can be requested..

Applications close 12 October 2021 3pm

Connections Art Exhibition – Call for Entries

An art exhibition to showcase and celebrate the work of artists who live, work or are connected to the City of Whittlesea. This is a fully accessible exhibition providing a space for local artists to exhibit and promote their work. The theme for this year’s exhibition is: Connections.

Submissions close 5pm 4 October 2021

Large Grants

Up to $40,000 for events in 2022. Requires some co-funding. Individuals may apply under auspice of a Not For Profit association.

Applications close 20 October

Quick Response Arts Grants

$4000 grants are 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 or to successfully deliver a project to the public. For activities taking place between 22 November 2021 and 30 May 2022.

Applications open: 9am Monday 20 September 2021

Applications close: 5pm Wednesday 13 October 2021 

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


This pilot program will explore new ways for artists and presenters to work collaboratively to generate physical and digital experiences. A collaborative program between an artist or collective and four presenting partners across Melbourne – Abbotsford Convent (Abbotsford), Dancehouse (Carlton North), Darebin Arts (Northcote) and The Substation (Newport) to develop a new contemporary performance idea. $26,500 plus venue and production support.

EOIs close 20 September 2021

Small Regional Presenters Program

A funding program that supports regional communities to program and present shows in their area. It also supports skills development and capacity building by encouraging presenters to develop long term plans and audience development strategies. This is the only round of Small Regional Presenters that is open for presentations taking place in 2022. Up to $15,000.

Applications close Thursday 14 October 2021 12pm

Social Change Fellowships

This supports individuals leading social change in Australia. Ten fellowships, worth up to $50,000 each, are available for six months.

Applications close Thursday 30 September 2021

Creative Recovery Small Grants Program

For creatives and creative communities impacted by the 2021 storms and floods. Applicants need to submit one response outlining the impact of the disaster on their creative practice or community, what they plan to use the funds for and how the funds will benefit their creative practice or their community’s recovery. Up to $1,500. Activities to be completed by 31 January 2022.

Applications close 1 October 2021 5pm

Carstairs Prize

Supports socially engaged art projects that embrace participatory and collaborative experiences, bring participants into active dialogue with the artist(s) in order to involve audiences beyond the art community. For artwork production costs to assist the successful applicant(s) to develop and present new work. Proposals may, but are not required to, explore collaborative arts practice in a time of pandemic and physical distancing. One individual or group will be awarded $10,000 + GST

Applications close Sunday 17 October 2021

Telematics Trust

These grants support initiatives that use technology to reach diverse and disadvantaged groups and address important practical problems and social issues within Victoria. The Telematics Trust aims to create a more level playing field by providing support to projects that educate and empower people from diverse backgrounds to learn new things and build their capacity to contribute to society. Up to $50,000 per project.

Applications close 8 October 2021

Community Voices Melbourne

This initiative will give 12 Melbourne individuals from diverse backgrounds a greater voice in Australia’s national conversation. It is open to talented people from all backgrounds, political outlooks and walks of life, who have a desire to speak publicly on issues that matter to all Australians. Participants do not need to have previous media experience but they should have close and demonstrable ties to their communities. Over 12 months, the program will provide participants with the training, practical experience and industry knowledge to help them engage with the media. Participants will work with media personalities, trainers and experts from across the industry.

Applications close 20 September 2021

Writeability Fellowships

Writers Victoria invites writers with disability throughout Victoria to apply for a 2021 Writeability Fellowship. Writeability Fellowships support emerging writers with disability with tailored professional development support such as manuscript assessments, curated programs of workshops, and/or mentoring.

Applications close 4pm 27 September 2021

Arts and Culture Grants

Up to $10,000. In 2021 the Foundation encourages applications from grant recipients who have had projects affected by COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. Applicants are encouraged to apply for funds towards the remounting of postponed works.

Applications close 8 October 2021

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.

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