Australia Council announces $112M investment over four years in small to medium arts organisations

Terrapin Puppet Theatre You and Me and the Space BetweenThe Australia Council for the Arts has announced that 128 arts organisations will receive a total of $28 million a year from 2017 through the Council’s new Four Year Funding program, in the final implementation of the new grants model.

Australia Council Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski said the Four Year Funding program was a key component of the Culturally Ambitious Nation strategy, designed to foster a vibrant and sustainable arts sector. “The 128 small to medium organisations receiving Four Year Funding represent diverse art forms and types of practice from across the country, including 25 per cent from regional and remote areas,” said Mr Grybowski.

“These companies support the development of Australian artists and have each articulated a compelling strategic plan to deliver artistically and culturally vibrant programs, and inventive ways to expand their audiences and markets.”

“This was the first time organisations across all areas of practice seeking multi-year funding were assessed at the same time, with both emerging and established companies being successful. This has enabled organisations to be viewed as part of an holistic national framework, within areas of practice and across the arts sector as a whole. I am particularly pleased about the success of youth theatre companies and the strong vision of an impressive cohort of First Nations-led arts organisations.”

“After lengthy sector consultation the Australia Council launched a responsive new grants model last year, which included consistent multi-year core program funding across all art forms. Four Year Funding will enable organisations to plan ambitious artistic programs with longer term certainty and increase their capacity to leverage other support and collaborations.”

“The model was designed to enable new organisations to access multi-year funding as well as requiring all companies to demonstrate how their work contributes to the Council’s strategic goals. This has been achieved with a third of the successful applicants not currently receiving multi-year funding and a diverse group of leading companies being successful again.”

“This program is part of an integrated approach to arts funding which included change needed for long-term sustainability within a national ecology. It was always intended that slightly fewer companies would be funded at a higher level, demonstrated by the average funding for organisations increasing annually by $62,000, compared to the previous programs.”

This funding was designed to be complemented by regular project grant rounds. The Council has already invested more than $10 million in project grants for small to medium organisations this financial year. Our investment in core program, project and strategic support for small to medium arts companies is a testament to the vital role they play in creating new work, engaging local artists and global audiences, and providing an environment for creative risk and innovation which benefits the entire arts sector.

“While celebrating the success of the companies forming the new cohort, the Council acknowledges that the outcomes of this highly competitive process will be difficult for some companies and is committed to supporting the sector through this period of change. This support will take various forms, responding to the different needs of both individual organisations and practice areas.”

To view the list of successful organisations to receive funding, click here. For more information about the Australia Council, visit: www.australiacouncil.gov.au for details.

Image: Terrapin Puppet Theatre’s production of You and Me and the Space Between – Image artist: Tom O’Hern / photo by Peter Mathew

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