$1.3 million investment in independent arts in Victoria

Justin Heazlewood photo by Elise DerwinVictorian artists will work in regional areas, renowned international venues and unique outdoor spaces in 2016 thanks to more than $1.3 million in grants through Creative Victoria’s VicArts Grants program. Projects span visual arts, literature, dance, circus, music and theatre and will take Victorian creative talent as far afield as Antarctica.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley has announced support for 71 arts projects that showcase the diversity and talent of Victoria’s independent arts sector and will involve more than 1,500 artists across the state.

“The Andrews Labor Government is proud to support the small, medium and independent cultural organisations and artists that are a cornerstone of our $23 billion creative industries economy,” says Minister Foley. “This round shows the incredible diversity of Victoria’s independent arts sector – our powerhouse of creativity. From new artworks, performances and writing to festivals, exhibitions and events, I look forward to seeing these projects come to life.”

Projects include the development of a memoir by Justin Heazlewood (The Bedroom Philosopher) reflecting on his childhood growing up as an only child with a mother with schizophrenia, the presentation of a new play based on the story of Yorta Yorta man William Cooper who led a delegation to the German Embassy in 1938 to protest against the Nazi treatment of Jewish people (Arthur productions), and the development and presentation of a new dance performance by choreographer Ashley Dyer to be performed on an earthquake simulator.

Victorian artwork will go on show at prestigious international events, including the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Los Angeles Contemporary Art Fair and New York City’s annual performing arts celebration, the COIL Festival. Closer to home, projects will be undertaken by professional artists and community groups – including children and Indigenous elders – in Geelong, Horsham, Swan Hill and Seymour.

Projects reflect the diversity of Victoria and explore themes ranging from crime and justice to ageing, climate change, parenthood, Indigenous history and the experiences of people with disability. Festivals are also a feature of the round, with support for the Chinese-Australian Writers’ Festival, the Melbourne Ukulele Festival and the National Play Festival, which will be hosted in Melbourne in 2016.

“Victoria’s independent arts sector is a hive of inspiration and a testing ground for new ideas,” says Minister Foley. “Our artists explore our history and imagine our future, they challenge us and encourage us to consider things from a different perspective.”

The VicArts Grants program enables Victorian independent artists and small organisations to create, develop, present and program new creative works. The next round of the program, for projects commencing from 1 June 2016, will open for applications in January and close on 17 February.

For more information and a full list of the supported projects, visit: www.creative.vic.gov.au for details.

Image: Justin Heazlewood – photo by Elise Derwin

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