6 October 2020

From taking galleries outdoors to performances staged simultaneously in person and online, 78 arts and cultural organisations will share in $7.85 million in grants through the Strategic Investment Fund – Stage Two for projects focused on protecting creative jobs and supporting organisations to find COVIDSafe ways to welcome back audiences and earn revenue.

The supported organisations include Victorian-based national icons such as The Australian Ballet and Circus Oz; regional festivals including Port Fairy Spring Music Festival and Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues; First Peoples arts organisations ILBIJERRI Theatre and Wurinbeena; and youth theatre companies Arena Theatre and St Martins.

The funding will enable Heide Museum of Modern Art to activate its outdoor spaces into a COVIDSafe summer venue for performances, talks and workshops. Castlemaine State Festival will add extra days to its 2021 event so venues can to host more performances for smaller crowds and undertake extra cleaning between shows.

With digital proving the best path to audiences in 2020, many organisations will use their grants to further develop their digital capabilities including theatre company Snuff Puppets which will transform its Footscray headquarters into a digital studio, employing local artists to create works that take the live puppet experience online.

Chunky Move will engage professionals from the film and television industry to explore ways to create screen-based dance works alongside its live program and St Kilda gallery Linden New Art will mark the 30th anniversary of the much-loved Linden Postcard Show with a virtual exhibition and events program.

Many organisations will support independent creatives to build their skills and diversify their income. Music Victoria, Theatre Network Australia and Writers Victoria will host training and workshops while Shepparton’s Kaiela Arts will work with First Peoples artists to develop a suite of high-end products, creating new business opportunities for both the artists and the centre.

The $13 million Strategic Investment Fund is part of the Victoria Government’s overall $90 million investment to help the state’s hard-hit creative sector survive the impacts of the pandemic.

In May and June, stage one of the Fund provided $5.15 million in immediate sustainability grants to help close to 100 organisations that receive operational support through Creative Victoria cover urgent costs ranging from wages to rent.

Recipients: Strategic Investment Fund – Stage Two

Aphids Events Inc, Collingwood
To develop new work with a focus on technology while enabling greater creative and economic outcomes for artists.

Arapiles Community Theatre, Natimuk 
To undertake a strategic business model review to enable the organisation to adapt and develop in response to the arts landscape in the Wimmera region as impacted by COVID-19.

Arena Theatre Company, Bendigo 
To employ independent artists and arts workers to reimagine the company's artistic program in response to the pandemic. The funding will also increase Arena's engagement with schools and communities across Central Victoria.

Ausdance Victoria, Yarraville 
To undertake a business development project that will reshape its programs to help to address the immediate needs of Victoria's dance sector as it responds to, and recovers from, the impacts of COVID-19.

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Southbank
To undertake a series of digital projects including commissioning contemporary artists to create new digital artworks and creating digital education programs and teacher resources aligned to the Victorian curriculum.

Australian Museums and Galleries Association, Carlton
To create a user-friendly, online version of the long-running Museum Accreditation Program.

Australian Poetry, Melbourne
To partner with the First Nations Australia Writers Network to create an audiobook based on the work of Australian First Nations poets.

Australian Tapestry Workshop, South Melbourne
To host a series of accessible online public workshops and engage four emerging to mid-career Victorian artists to work in collaboration with ATW weavers.

Back to Back Theatre Inc, Geelong
To undertake a business development project that will take the company's education and community programs online and increase the company’s focus on creating screen-based work.

Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Ballarat
To provide staff training and skills development to ensure that all aspects of future festivals, events and education programs are compliant with COVIDSafe measures.

Phillip Adams BalletLab, South Melbourne
To undertake a series of initiatives including providing employment opportunities for independent dance practitioners and implementing COVIDSafe measures at Temperance Hall.

Baluk Arts, Mornington
To support staff to participate in mentorship programs and to undertake training in business applications.

Castlemaine Art Museum, Castlemaine To build the organisation's capacity to create and exhibit art digitally and expand its digital programs, including a program focused on showcasing the creative and cultural sector of Central Victoria.

Castlemaine State Festival, Castlemaine
To implement COVIDSafe measures for the 2021 festival and to increase the festival's online presence and programming with a focus on providing school aged children from across the region with a full festival experience.

Centre for Contemporary Photography Inc, Fitzroy
To deliver a series of digital projects including redesigning and enhancing CCP's education program and incorporating more digital initiatives and opportunities into the 2021 program.

Chamber Made, North Melbourne
To test and implement new ways to develop, present and tour work that responds to the new environment and continues to deliver jobs for creatives, opportunities for partners and collaborators and exciting creative experiences for audiences.

Chinese Museum, Melbourne
To market and deliver the museum's new digital education program to new school audiences across the state.

Chunky Move, Southbank
To engage film and television industry experts to bring new expertise and experience into the organisation and expand its capacity to create screen-based works.

Circus Oz, Collingwood
To review and redesign the programming and operations of its onsite public venue The Melba Spiegeltent so that it is relevant now and in the COVID Normal and post-pandemic context.

Community Music Victoria, Melbourne
To deliver a skills development program to support musicians to use technology to collaborate and make music online.

Craft Victoria, Melbourne
To expand its online operations by revitalising its website, creating online content and online professional development opportunities, promoting First Peoples artists, and building its online store to increase sales and commissions of artists' work.

Creative Clunes, Clunes
To undertake a strategic review of the organisation's current business model and develop an enhanced website to allow the organisation to have a year-round online presence.

Dancehouse, Carlton North  
To establish an affordable COVIDSafe digital hub for independent dance artists, teachers, works and programs. The hub will include specialised equipment for online programming and for presenting classes online.

Experimenta Media Arts, Collingwood
To build the organisation's capacity with a focus on virtual and digital events and activities, as well as hybrid activities that audiences can experience online or in-person.

Express Media, Melbourne
To expand its online mentorship program and deliver a series of online writing workshops in 2020 and 2021.

Footscray Community Arts Centre, Footscray
To develop and implement a refreshed brand and present an ambitious summer program that provides opportunities for the local creative community.

Geelong Art Gallery, Geelong
To support the local creative community by engaging artists, makers, writers, designers, conservators and producers from the G21 region. The gallery will also work with emerging curators including those who are First Peoples and from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Gertrude Contemporary, Preston
To build a new digital platform, train staff to produce multimedia content and develop a Digital Engagement Strategy that will focus on ways to support artists and audiences.

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Templestowe Lower
To create a COVIDSafe, outdoor summer performing arts venue that will showcase First Peoples, LGBTIQA+ and culturally diverse artists. The program will provide a platform for young people to perform, as well as workshops, talks and performances by established artists.

ILBIJERRI Theatre, North Melbourne
To adapt its model and align the way the company works, performs and engages with audiences within the COVIDSafe environment.

Jewish Museum of Australia, St Kilda
To enhance its upcoming Mirka Mora exhibition by incorporating technology and sound composition to heighten the visitor journey, and to undertake additional marketing activities to build audiences.

Kaiela Arts, Shepparton
To undertake product and market research and support ten Kaiela Arts artists to be mentored by specialist artists in the fields of screen printing, ceramics and jewellery. The project will lead to the creation of new high-end products that will diversify income streams for both First Peoples artists and Kaiela Arts.

Koorie Heritage Trust Inc, Melbourne
To pivot its cultural education tours to online, providing current clients with a new virtual experience and attracting new regional, national and international audiences.

La Mama Inc, Carlton
To provide employment and income opportunities for artists by supporting increased production budgets, providing a guaranteed minimum box office return for shows and exploring ways to recreate the theatre experience online.

Linden New Art Inc, St Kilda
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the iconic Linden Postcard Show by taking the exhibition, associated events and artwork sales online.

Liquid Architecture, Collingwood
To develop an innovative partnership with West Space and Bus Projects that will see the three organisations jointly investing in digital platforms, establishing cross-disciplinary, collaborative programs, and bringing the staff from all three organisations together to develop expertise and share knowledge about COVIDSafe work practices.

Lucy Guerin Inc, North Melbourne
To support the immediate needs of dance professionals by providing access to skills development and work opportunities. Looking ahead, the company will deliver a program aimed at supporting medium and longer term recovery, focusing on wellbeing and knowledge exchange.

Malthouse Theatre, Southbank
To strengthen knowledge and skills in COVIDSafe best-practice for venues and to reach audiences outside of the venue through complementary digital experiences that support the work Malthouse presents onstage.

McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery, Langwarrin
To welcome back both old and new audiences by promoting the park as a COVIDSafe creative outing for Spring/Summer. The McClelland team will also commission eight artists, including three First Peoples artists, to produce a small edition to be sold in the McClelland store, creating an opportunity to generate ongoing income for artists hit hard by the pandemic.

Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne
To generate employment for musicians and to engage new audiences by redesigning its program to include a mix of streamed concerts, small events, recordings, and re-designed COVIDSafe orchestral performances.

Melbourne Fringe, Southbank
To implement COVIDSafe plans across the 2020 festival, the Fringe Common Rooms venue and Melbourne Fringe's year-round programs to support the independent arts sector.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Melbourne
To deliver a multifaceted project that will support members of the comedy community and rebuild audience confidence in returning to events. The project will see the festival support performers to create new content and shows, develop the festival's digital capacity so that it can continue to engage, entertain and build audiences online, and develop COVIDSafe plans for festival venues.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne
To provide opportunities for independent Victorian artists to create new digital content.

Melbourne Theatre Company, Southbank
To undertake a series of projects to prepare for a safe return to MTC's theatres including implementing COVIDSafe guidelines in all venues and staging socially distanced events.

Midsumma Festival, Southbank
To assist the delivery of key projects including the Pathways LGBTQIA+ disability mentorship program, whilst also developing and implementing initiatives aimed at sustaining the organisation in the longer term.

Music Victoria, Collingwood
To support staff to undertake professional development in community engagement and cultural safety and to redesign its events and professional development activities to reflect the organisation's Equity Action Plan including increasing engagement with First Peoples, artists from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and Deaf and disabled artists.

National Exhibitions Touring Support (NETS) Victoria, Melbourne
To undertake a multifaceted digital project that will respond to needs of the sector, create new online content and develop new ways to deliver exhibitions and events.

Next Wave Festival, North Melbourne
To undertake a strategic review of the organisation's business model and invest in hardware, digital infrastructure and training to adapt to the festival's operations, and the way it supports artists to make new work, for a COVIDSafe environment.

Overland, Footscray
To undertake a strategic review of its business model aimed at increasing economic opportunities, generating additional content and offering further support to emerging writers.

Outer Urban Projects, Coburg North
To create Urban Studio, a digital platform that adapts and enhances the company's Associate Artist and Major Works commissioning programs. The platform will provide employment opportunities for emerging and established artists and arts workers in the commissioning, development and production of new creative digital content.

Platform Arts, Geelong
To deliver the Platform LAB Program which will support emerging artists to collaborate, develop their practice and build skills for their arts careers.

Polyglot Theatre, Abbotsford
To employ local artists and creative practitioners and create new ways to deliver participatory creative experiences.

Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, Port Fairy
To redesign the festival’s 2020 program to focus on digital events including livestreamed concerts and re-broadcasted past content. The new model will continue to provide employment for creatives and to deliver creative experiences to the community into the future.

Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV), Melbourne
To develop and deliver a series of webinars and best practice guides to address the immediate impacts of the pandemic for the public gallery sector in Victoria.

Punctum, Castlemaine
To provide local artists and arts workers with employment opportunities, recalibrate its touring strategy and a refresh Punctum's digital assets.

Ranters Theatre, St Kilda
To develop a new work that responds to and reflects on the pandemic.

Rawcus Theatre Company Inc, Balaclava
To engage with a range of experts to research and develop a plan for operating in a COVIDSafe and post pandemic environment.

Red Stitch Actors Theatre, St Kilda
To develop and produce a program of cost-effective, original local work that responds to the new environment in inventive ways, and to develop a new marketing and communications strategy to guide activities as the company reopens its venues in a COVIDSafe way.

Shepparton Arts Festival, Shepparton
To run a professional development program to support artists across the community to build their digital media skills and find new ways to build their brand and connect with audiences and buyers.

Short Black Opera, Melbourne
To refocus to company's activities towards further developing Australia’s premier Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) chamber orchestra, Ensemble Dutala, creating career pathways for young ATSI musicians around Australia, and ensuring cultural authority for new ATSI compositions.

Snuff Puppets, Footscray
For a project that will turn Snuff Puppets' headquarters at Footscray's Drill Hall into a dynamic and COVIDSafe digital studio that will enable Snuff Puppets’ artists and the wider Melbourne puppet community to present their art to audiences online.

Speak Percussion, Thornbury
To implement a new approach emphasising the production of online content, local artists and presenters and professional development activities.

St Martins Youth Arts Centre, South Yarra
To reopen as a COVIDSafe venue and to reimagine and grow its workshop program through a new approach that combines digital and on-site workshops.

The Australian Ballet, Southbank
To stage a new, Melbourne-only series of works in a non-traditional performance space to bring back the joy of live performance and build audience confidence in returning to live events.

The Boite (Victoria), Abbotsford
To move its program of concerts online, develop and refine the organisation's online singing programs and develop a communications strategy to promote its activities to new audiences.

The Substation, Newport
To provide employment opportunities for independent artists and companies to develop and present work during the venue's closure.

The Wheeler Centre, Melbourne
To explore new digital opportunities and implement measures to prepare to reopen to audiences.

Theatre Network Australia, Southbank
To develop a paid leadership program for ten independent performing arts professionals focused on providing the strategic leadership skills needed to support recovery in the performing arts.

Victorian Association of Performing Arts Centres, Newham
To engage experts to support the organisation to adapt its membership services model and embrace new technology.

Wangaratta Festival of Jazz, Wangaratta
To build the festival's capacity to stream and broadcast components of its program and to implement COVIDSafe protocols.

Wantok Musik, Thornbury
To create digital and marketing assets for Wantok's artists to engage with new audiences and publicise work at a time when regular promotional opportunities are scarce and competitive.

Western Edge Youth Arts, Footscray
To consolidate its newly designed online programming by expanding employment for core staff and engaging with expert consultants.

Westside Circus, Preston
To development and implement new safety practices as the organisation works to reopen to the general public and the circus sector. The company will also explore options for online activities for artists and community members that add value to its existing services.

Women's Circus, Footscray
To support community wellbeing and resilience by improving access to its suite of programs including training, masterclasses and creative development while also adapting its operations to implement new COVIDSafe measures.

Writers Victoria, Melbourne
To strengthen Writers Victoria's online learning programs and adapt its Business Writing Program so it can be delivered online.

Wurinbeena, Lakes Entrance
To create a digital platform that will profile Wurinbeena's artists, sell art and provide a new space for the organisation's extensive film and project archives. The project will also involve staff training