Hundreds of Victorian creatives hit hard by the ongoing impacts of coronavirus have received a lifeline from the Victorian Government, enabling them to keep working, adapting and creating through the pandemic.
Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley has announced almost $2.3 million in Sustaining Creative Workers grants to directly support 373 independent creatives and micro-businesses across the state. This includes an additional $500,000 injected into the program to help meet demand from performers, writers, fashion designers, theatre companies and festivals.
“The Victorian Government is putting money directly in the pockets of our creatives so they can build new skills, create new work and continue to adapt to change,” said Minister Foley. “This support will keep people working through this period of restrictions, while finding new ways to do business and connect with Victorians.”
The $4.7 million Sustaining Creative Workers initiative is part of the Victorian Government’s $66.3 million survival package for the state’s creative sector. Some 398 recipients were supported in the first tranche of the program.
Prior to the pandemic, the creative industries employed 280,000 Victorians and contributed $31 billion annually to the state’s economy. In recent months the sector has been devastated due to coronavirus-related restrictions and closures, with thousands of people losing work and income.
New Sustaining Creative Workers grant recipients include writer/director/performer Candy Bowers, actor Nadine Garner, dancer/choreographer Deanne Butterworth, fashion designer Alice Edgeley, music label Bad Apples, sculptural artist Anna Varendorff and writer/comedian Alistair Baldwin.
The grants will allow practitioners and organisations to develop, deliver and adapt their work in a changed environment, including supporting equipment upgrades, research and development, digital initiatives and professional and business capacity building.
A range of creative festivals and events will move online including The Festival of Jewish Arts and Music, Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Freeplay Independent Games Festival, Geelong’s Festival of Glass, the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival and Open House Melbourne.
Micro-organisations like disability dance and theatre company, Weave Movement Theatre; independent children’s books publisher, Ford Street; physical theatre company, Dislocate; and Warrnambool Art Gallery, The F Project will adapt to new ways of operating, presenting work and connecting with audiences.
The Sustaining Creative Workers program was delivered in partnership with Regional Arts Victoria and Arts Access Victoria. For more information, and full list of recipients, visit www.creative.vic.gov.au for details.
Image: Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America which screened at MQFF earlier this year (supplied)