25 April 2020

A $16.8 million Victorian Government funding package will provide immediate support to Victorian creative organisations and individuals to sustain employment, develop new works and provide opportunities for creative community participation, in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Announcing the package, Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said: “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.

“Ensuring that our cultural and creative sector gets through to the other side of this crisis will be critical to Victoria’s economic, social and cultural recovery.”

The package, which focuses on Victoria’s small to medium and independent creative sector, includes a $13 million Strategic Investment Fund which will boost support to almost 100 non-government arts and cultural organisations.

These span festivals; theatres and performing arts companies; museums and galleries; and First Peoples, youth and culturally diverse arts organisations that collectively employ almost 2,000 people and generate $270 million for the Victorian economy each year.

Beneficiaries include Victorian icons La Mama Theatre and Heide Museum of Modern Art, festivals such as the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne Fringe, regional events like the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and Clunes Booktown Festival and First Peoples organisations Ilbijerri Theatre and Kaiela Arts in Shepparton, and many more.

The fund will help organisations to stabilise, continue their operations and keep people employed, commission local artists to develop new works, and deliver programs for their communities.

A $2.2 million initiative – Sustaining Creative Workers – will offer quick response grants for Victorian-based independent creatives and micro-organisations with at least five years of professional experience.

Grants of $5,000 will be available for individuals, and $10,000 for micro-organisations and businesses. An additional $2,500 in access funding will be available for Deaf and Disabled creatives, and Disability-led organisations.

Creative Victoria’s funding programs continue to provide vital support to the sector, enabling creatives to work during the shutdown, develop new projects, undertake professional development and pilot online platforms and other initiatives to reach new audiences.

Almost $1.6 million will be invested directly into the sector over the next three weeks through the latest rounds of the VicArts Grants, Music Works, and Innovation in Marketing programs.

For further detail on Sustaining Creative Workers visit our grants page.

For the latest general information and advice on coronavirus, visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/

Q&As about the Strategic Investment Fund for organisations

What organisations will be supported through the Strategic Investment Program?

This program has been designed to assist non-government Victorian arts and cultural organisations which are funded by Creative Victoria on a multi-year basis, primarily through the Organisations Investment Program (OIP).

There are a small number of eligible organisations outside the OIP program, which have a longstanding funding relationship with the Victorian Government. Creative Victoria will contact all eligible organisations directly.

There are around 100 organisations in this cohort, including First Peoples’ arts organisations, festivals, theatre and performing arts companies, galleries and museum, peak bodies, museums and galleries, and youth arts organisations, across the state.

They range from Victorian icons such as La Mama Theatre and Heide Museum of Modern Arts and major festivals like Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Melbourne Fringe, to key regional events like the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and Clunes Booktown Festival and First Peoples arts organisations like Ilbijerri Theatre and Kaiela Arts in Shepparton, and many more.

What about Victoria’s major performing arts companies?

Victoria’s major performing arts companies, which include the likes of Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre and Circus Oz, will be able to access support through this $13 million fund, however the initial tranche of funding is focused on small to medium organisations.

Why is the Fund only open to these organisations?

The Victorian Government has a longstanding and ongoing investment in these organisations, which span the state, cover different artforms and engage diverse audiences and communities. They make an important cultural, social and economic contribution to their communities and to the state more broadly.

There are a number of new Victorian Government and Commonwealth Government economic support packages in place that can assist creative organisations and businesses that have been impacted by coronavirus. Business Victoria (13 22 15 or business.vic.gov.au) can provide advice and assistance on how to access these.

Is this Fund open to local government arts facilities?

The Strategic Investment Fund is targeted at non-government small to medium arts organisations. Creative Victoria continues to support local government facilities, such as galleries and performing arts centres, in regional Victoria through our Regional Partnerships program. This funding is confirmed through to June 2021 and is secure regardless of venues closures.

Is this funding in addition to the organisations’ existing Creative Victoria grant?

Yes, all existing funding agreements will be honoured (including the OIP extension through to the end of 2021). The opportunities available through this fund are over and above these arrangements.

When will the program open?

The fund is designed to provide financial support to organisations as quickly as possible. Creative Victoria will contact eligible organisations directly with details in the week commencing 27 April 2020.

How can I apply?

The process for organisations will be as streamlined as possible, Creative Victoria will contact eligible organisations directly with details.

How much funding is available?

The overall Investment Fund totals $13 million, this will support up to 100 organisations.

Will I have to submit an application?

The process for applying for funding will not be burdensome for organisations, recognising they are already under significant pressure. It will be streamlined, quick and practical. Creative Victoria will contact eligible organisations directly with details in the week commencing 27 April 2020.

Q&As about this Support Package

What is the Victorian Government doing to help Victoria’s creative industries survive the impacts of coronavirus?

The Victorian Government has announced $16.8 million of dedicated funding for Victoria’s creative sector, focused on small to medium organisations and independent practitioners.

This urgent and immediate support will help maintain creative jobs and activity, help individuals and organisations to regenerate income, develop new work and provide new opportunities for creative community participation during the current shutdown.

This support includes:

  • A $13 million Strategic Investment Fund, open to Creative Victoria-funded, non-government arts and cultural organisations – spanning almost 100 festivals, performing arts companies, museums, galleries, and First Peoples, youth and culturally diverse arts organisations across Victoria.
  • $2.2 million Sustaining Creative Workers initiative offering quick response grants for impacted Victorian based independent artists, creative practitioners and micro-organisations, with five or more years of professional experience.
  • $1.6 million in grants through Creative Victoria’s funding programs, focusing on activities that can be undertaken in the current climate, such as the research and development of new creative works, professional development activities and new ways of reaching audiences.

This targeted funding complements broader Victorian Government economic measures,  including the $500 million Business Support Fund which is providing vital support to businesses in the hardest sectors, including the creative industries; and the Working for Victoria scheme which is helping those who are out of work to secure alternative employment during this time.

How will this package support the employment of people within the creative industries?

Our multi-year funded, non-government organisations employ over 1,900 Victorians and range from major festivals to theatre companies, youth arts organisations, museums, galleries and more. Collectively these organisations generate $270 million for the Victorian economy each year. Organisations can use this immediate support to reinforce their workforce, for example, by topping up the JobKeeper payment.

Individual creative practitioners and sole traders are not eligible for the JobKeeper payment and currently have very few streams of income to rely on. The Sustaining Creative Workers initiative will provide them with small grants to keep producing and progressing work.

Why do the creative industries need specific support?

While many industries and parts of the economy have been affected and require support, the creative industries were among the first and hardest hit by the impacts of coronavirus and the shutdown of public activity.

For thousands of creative practitioners and organisations across the state, revenue immediately dried up as venues closed and events and performances were cancelled. The impact on the sector, and the jobs and lives of individuals within it, is ongoing and wide-reaching.

ABS data 2020 shows that only 47 per cent of arts and recreational businesses are currently still operating – the only sector below 50 per cent.

Victoria is proudly the creative state and our creative industries ordinarily contribute $31 billion to the state economy. They employ more than 260,000 people – 8.6 per cent of Victoria’s workforce – and engage millions of Victorians each year.

Along with other government support, this targeted funding will help keep people in jobs, enable creatives to continue their practice, and develop a pipeline of Victorian creative projects for the future, ensuring that Victorians can continue to enjoy creative experiences.

Is this new support?

The $13 million Strategic Investment Fund provides additional support to organisations, over and above their existing multi-year funding arrangements with Creative Victoria.

Likewise, the $2.2 million Sustaining Creative Workers initiative is an additional avenue of support for independent creatives to specifically address the impacts of coronavirus.