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2 May

2 May

Sounds of Musical Theatre

VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT UNVEILS $16.8 MILLION ARTS SURVIVAL PACKAGE. The Victorian Government has unveiled a $16.8 million survival package for the arts, to provide support for organisations and individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The arts have been devastated by restrictions on gatherings due to the coronavirus, and support initiatives are being launched around the country.

Create NSW and the ABC have also announced new initiatives to support the creative sector, while Artist Relief Fund WA is offering targeted support for arts workers in Western Australia. Meanwhile, the City of Melbourne has announced the first of its successful grant recipients and Queenslands HOTA has announced the artists supported by its Rage Against the V(irus) program. As reported in this weeks Limelight news letter, the Victorian Governments support package includes a $13 million Strategic Investment Fund, which will be shared between almost 100 non-government arts and cultural organisations, including La Mama Theatre, Heide Museum of Modern Art, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the Melbourne Fringe, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Clunes Booktown Festival, Ilbijerri Theatre Company and Kaiela Arts.

A new $2.2 million Sustaining Creative Workers fund will offer quick response grants for Victorian-based independent creatives and micro-organisations, while grants of $5,000 will be available for individuals, and $10,000 for micro-organisations and businesses, with an additional $2,500 in access funding available for creatives with a disability, and disability-led organisations, the Government said. According to Victorian Government figures, creative industries contribute $31 billion to the states economy annually, employing 260,000 people, or eight percent of the states workforce. Victoria is proudly the creative state.

Even in these unprecedented times, our creatives continue to find ways to connect and inspire us but they are doing it tough and they need our help, Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said. Ensuring that our cultural and creative sector gets through to the other side of this crisis will be critical to Victorias economic, social and cultural recovery. In New South Wales, Create NSW has announced a $6.34 million package which includes new funding initiatives and the repurposing of existing funding to support independent artists and small to medium arts, screen and cultural organisations impacted by COVID-19.

The package includes over $1 million for accommodation assistance through a six-month rent and outgoings waiver to support 38 arts organisations housed across the Create NSW arts property portfolio of buildings, a new $450,000 COVID-19 Support Round, $700,000 for a new Screen Slate Development Fund, a $350,000 increase to Small Project Grants, $180,000 for six new fellowships under the Creative Leadership program, as well as webinars, factsheets and how-to videos to support arts workers transitioning to digital platforms. Meanwhile, the ABC has announced a $5 million development fund to provide urgent support for the arts. As Australias biggest backer of local content, the ABC will provide whatever help possible within our means to shore up the viability of independent producers, who are struggling during this incredibly disruptive time, said ABC Director of Entertainment & Specialist Content Michael Carrington.

The Fresh Start Fund will ramp up the development of original and outstanding Australian content to keep our production sector afloat during the COVID-19 restrictions. In times like this we all need to pull together and the ABC remains open for business in supporting Australian talent and stories. In addition to an Enhanced Development & Production Fund, Innovation Fund, Arts Digital Fund and Childrens Content Fund, the new initiative by the ABC will include an Australian Music fund which will see new music commissioned for ABC Classic and ABC Jazz, as well as music scholarships supporting diverse emerging artists across multiple genres and themes, driven by triple j and triple j Unearthed.

In Western Australia, the Arts Relief Fund WA has announced it is offering targeted support for arts workers experiencing hardship due to COVID-19. The impact of COVID-19 on a sector that was already financially insecure has been devastating, said Nick Maclaine, Artist Relief Fund WAs secretary. Were here to support you, whether youve been recently working or long retired, and whether youre an actor, musician, dancer, stage manager or any other professional, onstage or off.

The fund provides small grants or loans to eligible live entertainment professionals. The range of circumstances where we can help are actually quite broad, Maclaine said. What we find is that many people assume the fund isnt there for them that theyre too young, for example, or that there must be someone else who needs us more.

But were here for people at all stages of their careers, and for anyone who is experiencing hardship our doors are open. In Victoria, the City of Melbourne has announced that it has awarded more than $727,000 in funding, with 226 applicants receiving grants of up to $4,000 each, in its first round of grants to support artists and creative organisations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant recipients include clarinet player, improviser, composer and performance-maker Aviva Endean, trumpet player Callum GFroerer, pianist Kristian Chong, guitarist Leonard Grigoryan, the Stephanie Lake Company and composer and pianist Yitzhak Yedid.

Melbournes artistic community contributes greatly to our economy and is a core part of our citys heart and soul, said Lord Mayor Sally Capp. Weve received more than 1600 applications for funding to create new artistic works or to stream performances online. We know supporting artists through this period is so important to our citys economic and cultural recovery.

We will provide grants for up to 500 artists, performers and small arts organisations, she said. We have been overwhelmed by the number and calibre of the applications we have received. HOTA, on Queenslands Gold Coast, has announced the first recipients of support through its Rage Against the V(irus) program, with projects including short films, a web series, photo exhibitions, concerts, colouring books, animations, an interview series and more.

This rapid-response grant was established for our local arts community during a time when they need it most, HOTA CEO Criena Gehrke said. Artists are the lifeblood of HOTA, without them there is no home of the arts. Weve been awed by their creative brilliance and we celebrate their creativity, inventiveness and courageous nature.

Credit: Angus McPherson, Limelight.

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