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.

CREATIVE VICTORIA
Creative Infrastructure Support Grants

Support to reopen or adapt existing creative spaces for professional creatives who have been affected by COVID-19; and support for creatives with equipment or rental subsidies. This program is open to projects in these 8 local government areas: City of Yarra; City of Moreland; City of Port Philip; City of Melbourne; Ballarat City Council; Geelong City Council; Mt Alexander Shire; and Surf Coast Shire.

Stream 1: Applications may be accepted for requests up to $25,000 for infrastructure upgrades, rental subsidy, and/or equipment for creative spaces led and run by First Peoples.

Stream 2: Applications may be accepted for requests up to $25,000 for infrastructure upgrades, rental subsidy, and/or equipment for collectives, micro-organisations, businesses and LGAs.

Stream 3: Applications may be accepted for requests up to $3,000 for equipment and/or rental subsidies only for sole traders, freelancers and businesses.

Applications close 22 March 2021 5pm

CITY OF MELBOURNE
ArtPlay – New Ideas Lab

An opportunity for artists to propose new projects to be undertaken with ArtPlay for children and families, for new work between $10,000-$20,000. Four projects will be supported. One of these will be a project that engages culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) families with children 1 to 5 years of age and we strongly encourage artists and producers from CALD backgrounds to apply. Please note that this project is required to work with the same group of families over the course of the project and it must be delivered July to September – with a showing as part of Children’s Week 23 to 31 October 2021 (exact dates to be confirmed).

EOIs open now. Close Friday 26 March 2021 5pm

CITY OF WHITTLESEA
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

CITY OF WHITTLESEA
Cultural Heritage Funding Program

Grants of up to $2000 to groups and individuals to support projects which showcase and celebrate the diverse cultural heritage of the City of Whittlesea and its residents. Eligible applicants include cultural, historical, recreational groups and community agencies provided they are not-for-profit or educational facilities and/or individuals who have an ABN. The program is open to a broad range of projects that directly benefit the City of Whittlesea community.

Applications open: 22 February 2021 Close: 22 March 2021

CITY OF BRIMBANK
Leadership Program

Opportunities for eligible community members in Brimbank to build and strengthen their capacity in community leadership and participation. The program will be delivered by Track C Consulting between March and May 2021 via zoom.

Registrations close:  Friday 26 February 2021 11.59pm; participants will be informed by Thursday 4 March 2021.

CREATIVE VICTORIA
Creative Workers Fund

Projects led by Victorian professional creatives across all creative disciplines. Projects can include collaborating with creative and non-creative personnel (such as technicians, publicists etc). NB: Recipients of the VicArts September 2020 round or the Victorian Music Industry Recovery Program are ineligible to apply.

Applications close: 25 February 2021 5pm

CREATIVE VICTORIA
Creators Fund

Open to individual creative practitioners and collectives across all disciplines, and at all career stages, the program supports artists and creatives to undertake a sustained period of intensive research and development or experimentation. Requests from $20,000 – $50,000 for up to 6 months project.

Applications close: 1 March 2021

CREATIVE VICTORIA
Building Audiences Fund

$2,000 – $20,000 one-off support for new marketing projects designed to build or re-establish audiences following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Applications close: 4 March 2021

AUSTRALIA COUNCIL
Arts Projects for Individuals and Groups

This program funds a range of activities that deliver benefits to the arts sector and wider public, including national and international audiences. Grants are available from $10,000 to $50,000. Supported activities must last no longer than two years from the proposed start date.

Applications close: 2 March 2021 3pm AEDT

CITY OF WYNDHAM
Identity Inclusion Connection Grants

Identity, Inclusion and Connection Grants are expected to contribute to a sense of community identity, inclusion and connectedness between Wyndham residents, and to building a resilient community that supports good mental health and emotional wellbeing. Up to $5,000.

Applications open: 10 February 2021  Close: 15 March 2021 3pm

CITY OF WHITTLESEA
Creative Communities Fund

For City of Whittlesea creative sectors including artists, musicians, performers, producers, community artists, not-for-profit arts organisations and community/cultural groups to create and present work. Up to $2,000. Funding of up to $2000 will be provided.

Applications open : 15 February 2021  Applications close: 1 March 2021

CITY OF DAREBIN
Arts Recovery Grants

Arts organisations, creative businesses and live music venues are invited to apply for an Arts Recovery Partnership Grant, with funding of up to $25,000 available per application and a total funding pool of $140,000. These grants are to support adaption and experimentation within Darebin’s local creative, arts, and live music industries in a COVID-safe way.

Applications close: 4 March 2021 at 5pm.

REGIONAL ARTS VICTORIA & WORKING FOR VICTORIA
CREATIVE WORKERS IN SCHOOLS

Creative Workers in Schools (CWS) provides the opportunity for 150 creative industry workers to undertake a six-month residency in Victorian government schools, including special schools. Creative workers and Schools will be supported to work together to co-design and deliver an educationally valuable project or set of activities that supports learning across the Victorian Curriculum F–10 over 6 months.

Salary is $33,592 before tax.

The CWS program will take place in schools in in one of two streams, across Terms 1 and 2 or Terms 2 and 3 2021.

EOIs for Stream Two open: Monday 11 January 2021

EOIs for Stream Two close: 5pm Monday 1 March 2021

Stream Two partnerships confirmed: week commencing 15 March 2021

Induction and planning sessions: 12 April – 23 April 2021 Employment period: 12 April – 8 October 2021

CITY OF PORT PHILLIP & THE FITZROY STREET BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
RENEW FITZROY STREET

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

AUSTRALIA CHINA FOUNDATION
Australia China Relations Grants

Grants to develop, promote and strengthen understanding and engagement between Australia and China. Grants from $20,000 to $1,000,000 for projects of up to 2 years.

Applications close: 26 February 2021 6pm

AUSTRALIA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS
CONTEMPORARY MUSIC TOURING PROGRAM

The Contemporary Music Touring Program (CMTP) supports national touring activity undertaken by Australian musicians performing original contemporary music. Funding can be provided to performers, managers, agents, and music networks on behalf of professionals working in the Australian music industry. Applications must contain one tour only, minimum 3 venues/locations. $5,000 – $50,0000 can be applied for depending on tour itinerary.

Applications : open now

Applications close: Tuesday 2 March 2021 3pm AEDT

AUSTRALIA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS
PLAYING AUSTRALIA

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.  Playing Australia is open to applications for funding with some adjustments to the guidelines accounting for COVID-19 conditions.

Round Closes: 3pm, Tuesday 2 March 2021 for projects starting after 1 June 2021

BLACK CAT GALLERY
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.

REGIONAL ARTS AUSTRALIA
National Regional Arts Fellowship Program

The Fellowships Program is contemporary, flexible and relevant to artists practicing, working and living in regional, rural and remote Australia. It is designed as an applicant-led approach, addressing the needs of the individual in that time and place; offering a guaranteed income (for a short period) for an artist/ practitioner to develop their work, skills and networks or research. In 2021, 3 types of fellowships are up for offer including Creative and Professional Development, First Nations Creative Development and First Timer – Creative or Professional Development. Grants are worth up to $20,000.

Closing Date: Monday 8 March 2021

REGIONAL ARTS AUSTRALIA
Regional Assembly EOI

An artist-led online studio program connecting cultural practitioners working in regional and remote geographies. Designed to develop a creative community, rigorous artistic exchange and professional growth for cross-disciplinary mid-career artists working in regional Australia, Aotearoa & Te Moana nui a Kiwa (Pacific) and South Asia. Over the course of a year ten artists will each receive an artist fee to participate in eight online sessions from their studios, connecting conversations about works in progress, development practice and theory.

Closing Date: Monday 8 March 2021

AUSTRALIAN MULTILINGUAL WRITING PROJECT
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

AUSTRALIAN PERFORMING ARTS MARKET (APAM)
EOIs for Presenting a Profile

Profiles are short presentations (5-10 mins in length) by artists, companies and presenters, to share information about new and existing performance projects, and invite collaboration and potential partners. The event is the DreamBIG Childrens Festival in May 2021.

Expressions of interest close midnight AEDT 26 February 2021.

AUSTRALIA CHINA FOUNDATION
Australia China Relations Grants

Grants to develop, promote and strengthen understanding and engagement between Australia and China. Grants from $20,000 to $1,000,000 for projects of up to 2 years.

Applications close: 26 February 2021 6pm

TESTING GROUNDS
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.

BESEN FOUNDATION
Small Grants

Grants are also made to assist innovative and creative arts projects that challenge the current boundaries of their given discipline. A focus on the role of arts and culture as a vehicle for strengthening and enriching our community. Projects may be funded for development, presentation and touring. Individual artists should contact the Foundation directly for advice on applying for project funding. Up to $10,000.

Applications open Monday 15 Feb 2021; close Friday 26 March 2021.

PPCA
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

ARTS ACCESS VICTORIA & CITY OF PORT PHILLIP
THRIVE CREATIVE GRANTS

Victorian Deaf and Disabled artists may apply for up to $10,000 per project. For new art projects to be presented in and around Open Doors Emerald Hill between July and December 2021.  Up to a further $1000 per project is available for access considerations on top of this. AAV has an info session on Wednesday 27 January from 2 to 3 pm. Please RSVP to rsvp@artsaccess.com.au with any access requirements by 4 pm on Monday 25 January.

Applications close: Tuesday 9 March 2021 5 pm.

REGIONAL ARTS VICTORIA
CREATIVE WORKERS IN SCHOOLS

Creative Workers in Schools (CWS) provides the opportunity for 150 creative industry workers to undertake a six-month residency in Victorian government schools, including special schools. Creative workers and Schools will be supported to work together to co-design and deliver an educationally valuable project or set of activities that supports learning across the Victorian Curriculum F–10 over 6 months. Salary is $33,592 before tax.

The CWS program will take place in schools in in one of two streams, across Terms 1 and 2 or Terms 2 and 3 2021.

  • EOIs for Stream Two open: Monday 11 January 2021
  • EOIs for Stream Two close: 5pm Monday 1 March 2021
  • Stream Two partnerships confirmed: week commencing 15 March 2021
  • Induction and planning sessions: 12 April – 23 April 2021
  • Employment period: 12 April – 8 October 2021
THEATRE NETWORK AUSTRALIA
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.

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE VISUAL ARTS
ARTISTS BENEVOLENT FUND

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.
(or)
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 office@mav.org.au

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 office@mav.org.au.

Image: Interwoven. Photo by Shane Carey