ACT Government COVID-19 support for the local arts sector
In addition to the over $10 million provided to the sector in annual arts funding, the ACT Government has committed more than $6 million in economic stimulus to support Canberra’s creatives through the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a series of grants and funding opportunities to assist the ACT’s creative arts industry during these difficult times.
HOMEFRONT - funding for Canberra artists
As part of a whole of Government response to the impacts of COVID-19, the HOMEFRONT funding round was developed to support individual Canberra-based artists in response to the impact of COVID-19 on the arts sector. Over 370 applications were received with total funding of $503,586 and funding of up to $10,000 per artist was provided to the 66 successful recipients in May 2020. An additional allocation of funding to this round was announced in August 2020, with 59 artists subsequently supported for total funding of $449,425.
This funding will support activities such as research and development, making of new works or sharing of works via online platforms, and artists fees and living expenses to undertake arts activities.
Visit the Current Funding Recipients page to see the list of successful applicants.
We received an unprecedented number of applications to the HOMEFRONT round. The quality was very high and there remains many unsuccessful applications. These applicants are encouraged to consider the Arts Activities Funding rounds for their projects and are welcome to contact us to discuss options.
COVID-19 Organisational Emergency Support Funding
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on ACT arts organisations, resulting in a sustained period of lost revenue and opportunities. Acknowledging that the arts are going to play an important role in our community’s recovery, the ACT Government has invested $1.07 million in Canberra arts organisations that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible arts organisations (currently funded Key Arts and Program organisations) were invited to submit proposals for support by demonstrating their financial need this calendar year. Submissions were reviewed based on support already received through the Australian Government (if any), lost revenue and the desired outcome of keeping Canberrans employed and our arts sector viable. A list of the organisations receiving this support can be found on our Current Funding Recipients page
Creative Recovery and Resilience Program
In August 2020, the ACT Government announced that $375,000 has been provided towards the new Creative Recovery and Resilience program, which has been designed to focus on employment and economic stimulus for the creative sector. The Creative Recovery and Resilience program was developed utilising feedback from artists across a range of mechanisms including through conversations with artists, listening at the Canberra Arts Action Group meetings, engaging with arts organisations and in collaboration with the Minister’s Creative Council and the results of the Council's survey conducted with the arts community.
The initiatives, to be implemented over the next six months include:
- opportunities for a new take on the artist in residency;
- commissioning artists to use the city as a muse;
- appointing an ACT Government artist;
- amplifying the creative sector through showcasing Canberra artists and demonstrating the value of the arts to the community; and
- the start of a creative recovery and resilience sector forum to provide ongoing opportunities to connect, share skills and knowledge, and collaborate.
A sector working group will be formed to provide input into the further development of these programs. Information about the sector working group and these initiatives will be available in coming weeks and will be distributed through the artsACT e-newsletter.
Cultural Facilities Corporation funding
The ACT Government has provided an additional $2.5 million of funding for the Cultural Facilities Corporation to continue to deliver cultural services to the Canberra community and continue with the ongoing development of future arts and cultural events.
Arts infrastructure upgrades
A range of arts facilities across Canberra will also receive minor upgrades and maintenance works as part of the Government’s Fast-track infrastructure program . The program is helping deliver more jobs to Canberrans and supporting local business during COVID-19.
More than 50 Canberrans from seven local businesses have already been engaged to deliver projects including:
- improvements to the functionality and safety of heritage windows at Ainslie Arts Centre
- upgrades to toilet facilities at Tuggeranong Arts Centre, Watson Arts Centre, Canberra Contemporary Arts Space (Manuka) and Megalo Print Studio
- replacing existing light fixtures with more energy-efficient LED fittings at various facilities
- improvements to the Canberra Glassworks foyer space
- drainage works to improve safety at the entry to Tuggeranong Arts Centre
- improvements to heritage‑listed cottages at Lanyon.
Support of $359,265 was provided in funding to the head-licensees of arts facilities to enable the waiving of fees for sub-licensees for six months. This funding has supported up to 65 smaller arts organisations and individual artists.
The ACT Government will also not charge any rent, for a six-month period from 1 April 2020, to community groups occupying ACT Government owned properties. This includes ACT Government owned arts facilities.
Funding for street artists
The Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate has allocated approximately $500,000 for Canberra street artists to refresh and reinvigorate parts of the city via commissioning and Creative Endeavour Grants
A range of arts facilities across Canberra will also receive minor upgrades and maintenance works as part of the Government’s fast-track infrastructure program. The program is helping deliver more jobs to Canberrans and supporting local business during COVID-19
New digital initiatives
In addition, the ACT Government has also supported the local arts sector and engaged audiences by developing new digital initiatives, such as the highly successful CTC@Home program by the Canberra Theatre Centre, as well as the Where You Are Festival and RISE Canberra calendar , delivered by Events ACT.
Which artsACT programs have been affected by COVID-19?
Canberra Wellington Indigenous Artist Exchange
In response to the global pandemic of COVID-19, the ACT Government and Wellington City Council have decided to postpone the Canberra Wellington Indigenous Artist Exchange (date to be determined). Although this is disappointing, both the ACT Government and Wellington City Council remain committed to the Exchange.
Arts Activities Funding
artsACT is progressing assessments of the 2020 Round 2 Arts Activities funding that recently closed. There may be a need for us to speak to applicants regarding activities in the changing environment and if so, we will contact you. If you have any updates for an application impacted by COVID-19, please email us at artsACT@act.gov.au
If you are a current funding recipient and COVID-19 has impacted your project, artsACT has developed a flow chart and a table to help you determine what you should do next:
- Grant recipient contingency planning flow chart (PDF 93KB)
- Grant recipient contingency planning table (PDF 96KB)
Which artsACT-owned arts facilities are open?
As a result of the easing of restrictions outlined in Canberra's Recovery Plan , some artsACT-owned facilities have re-opened in line with the Roadmap. Please consult the website of each facility for information on activities being undertaken and opening hours.
More information and support
The ACT Government's COVID-19 website – www.covid19.act.gov.au – is the single point of truth for everything you need to know about COVID-19 in the Canberra region. The website is updated regularly as information evolves and has a subscription feature for you to receive regular email updates on COVID-19.
A series of Frequently Asked Questions about arts and cultural activities are also available on the website.
If you're struggling with your mental health and need immediate support you can phone Beyond Blue any time on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. The Support Act Wellbeing Helpline is a free, confidential counselling service open to all artists and arts workers - 1800 959 500.