The ACT Government is monitoring the impact of COVID-19 as the situation evolves and we appreciate the additional strain that is being placed on the arts sector in these times of uncertainty.

The public health and safety of Canberrans, and our artists, is our top priority.

What we are doing to support the Canberra arts sector

artsACT remains flexible and ready to respond when we need to - this includes determining how we can continue to support our arts sector.

The ACT Government recognises the immediate support needed for Canberra artists who have lost their income and ability to maintain their arts practice as a result of COVID-19.

As part of a whole of Government response to the impacts of COVID-19, we opened up funding to individual Canberra-based artists (up to $10,000 per applicant) to support arts development and the sustainability of their arts practices over the next six to nine months. To find out more, visit the HOMEFRONT funding page or visit the Current Funding Recipients page to see the list of successful applicants.

Additionally, we are providing up to $500,000 in funding to the head-licensees of arts facilities to enable the waiving of fees for sub-licensees for six months. It is anticipated that this will support 65 smaller arts organisations.

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.

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.

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:

The ACT Government is looking closely at what the Australian Government will do Australia-wide, and will work in partnership with them in the delivery of those measures locally. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to get in contact. There is also some information that may be useful to local artists and arts organisations about support from the Office for the Arts External Link and the Australia Council for the Arts External Link

Which artsACT programs have been affected?

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). We will continue to assess applications and will contact applicants as soon as we can provide an update. Although this is disappointing, both the ACT Government and Wellington City Council remain committed to the Exchange.

artsACT is progressing assessments of the 2020 Round 1 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

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:

Which artsACT-owned arts facilities have been affected?

The majority of arts facilities have been closed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; however, as a result of the easing of restrictions outlined in Canberra's Recovery Plan External Link there are some organisations who will be making decisions to re-open in line with the Roadmap. Please consult the website of each facility for information on activities being undertaken and opening hours.

More information

The situation is changing every day. You can keep up to date by visiting the ACT Health website External Link and social media channels and the Australian Government website External Link

The ACT Government has also established a new dedicated website on COVID-19. The new website – External Link – is a single point of truth for everything you need to know about COVID-19 in the Canberra region. The website will be 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 External Link are also available on the website.

If you're struggling with your mental health and need immediate support you can phone Beyond Blue External Link any time on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline External Link on 13 11 14. The Support Act Wellbeing Helpline External Link is a free, confidential counselling service open to anyone working in Australian music or the performing arts - 1800 959 500.