It has been a very long time since my last post and there are many reasons for that – the simplest being the massive growth in short form online communications and news and information about the arts and fundraising on social media and news platforms such as ArtsHub and Probono since I first started rambling in about 2010.
However, with nearly every arts organisation in the country in some form of closure, cancellation, shut down or “hibernation”, and many artists, writers, performers, dancers and actors seeing work and income evaporate for the next year and a half I thought I would try to put together some of the news and information that might be of some use.
The arts is not a small, niche sector. According to Senator Sarah Hanson Young, the Greens spokesperson for the arts “over 600,000 Australians are employed in the creative and arts sector and the industry contributes $112 billion to our economy. AMPAG puts this even higher – at $4 billion.
The arts are also not elite – anyone who likes a pop song, watches Bluey with their children, knows the words to Up there, Cazaly or One Day in September, reads a book, visits a library or enjoys Netflix is participating in the arts (whether they are conscious of this or not). I don’t think I need to argue the underlying premise for this blog has always been based on a strong appreciation of the value of the arts to society and community.
And especially as the Australia Council has just announced four year funding recipients leaving quite a few well loved and long established organisations without support, particularly in the youth arts sector (see here for some reaction), here’s what else seems to be happening in terms of support for the arts at the moment in these (insert synonym for unprecedented) times.
Firstly – at the Federal Government level there has been a very disappointing re-allocation of $5 million at the Australia Council from other programs in its “Response Package to COVID-19”
whereas the City of Melbourne has announced $2 million in support for local arts organisations and a freeze on rent for arts organisations in Council owned properties.
Creative Victoria directs people to the State Government general support page.
Create NSW is adapting its grants by:
- Removing requirements to meet audience KPIs
- Varying the purpose and outcomes of funding
- Extending timelines for projects
- Allowing grants to be repurposed to pay essential bills such as rent, wages or utilities
In Western Australia, all arts and cultural institutions have been closed down, but the Government has declared a freeze on household fees and charges until July 1.
The ACT has announced $500,000 in arts funding.
Tasmania has an arts and screen stimulus package.
Arts Queensland has announced a boost to their current funding and an extension of closing dates.
Many philanthropic trusts are easing their reporting deadlines and criteria in the current environment as well, but we are yet to see major announcements around extended funding.
Donors and arts lovers can help the organisations they hold dear as ticket holders are being invited to donate the value of tickets for shows which have been cancelled back to arts organisations rather than receiving refunds. Donations too are always welcome and particularly now.
What’s still there to see, do or experience?
We can stay connected with our favourite arts organisations who have been developing new ways to connect with audiences with the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall and MTC’s digital archive including a Virtual Tour of their facilities. Sydney Dance Company is offering a Virtual Studio and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is livesteaming once a week with MSO Live and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra has its daily dose.
The Sydney Biennale has moved online and many galleries are providing online access to collections (in fact, you can tour most of the galleries in the world through Google Arts).
Isol-aid has already had two outings to support musicians, and smaller organisations are also moving their events and offerings online.
and finally – Artshub has probably summarised what’s available best here.
Let me know if I have missed any key funding which would be good to share, or if you have some special digital content coming out soon – and correct me on any errors.
Stay safe, stay well – and stay home!