Over the weekend, Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley, announced a $16.8 million package to help the arts sector survive the shutdown period.
The arts industry was one of the first to be hit by COVID-19 restrictions and the impact has been devastating. With galleries, theatres, live music venues and more closed nationwide, Foley has revealed a strategic funding boost to provide immediate support for Victoria’s creative community.
The plan will see $13 million allocated to non-government arts and cultural organisations, including museums, galleries, performing arts companies and festivals. This will allow organisations such as Melbourne International Comedy Festival, La Mama Theatre, Melbourne Fringe, Heide Museum of Modern Art and more cover urgent expenses such as rent and staff salaries. The money may also be used to invest in future programs and works.
A further $2.2 million will be distributed as grants of $10,000 and $5,000 to individual artists and micro-organisations to support continued work on existing projects, new works, skill development and more. The remaining $1.6 million will be invested directly into the arts sector across the next three weeks.
The state’s creative industries contribute an estimated $31 billion into the economy each year and employ approximately 260,000 people.
“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,” 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.”