New funding for artists with a disability

Tony GrybowskiThe Australia Council for the Arts will provide a new funding program for artists with disability. Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski made three key announcements to mark the International Day of People with Disability.

“Funding and accessibility for artists with disability is essential to our principles of diversity and excellence, and these new initiatives have been developed after extensive consultation with the sector.”

Mr Grybowski said he was delighted to announce that $300,000 had been allocated to support the new Artists with Disability Program, to enable Australian artists with disability to create, develop, present, produce, exhibit and tour their work.

“This pilot program will be launched in the first half of 2014, supported through the new Unfunded Excellence funding for 2013/14,” Mr Grybowski said.

“Individuals and groups who identify as having disability can apply for grants of up to $10,000 for development and up to $20,000 for arts projects.

Minister for the Arts, Senator George Brandis congratulated the Australia Council on today’s announcements which give greater funding, support and access to the arts for Australians with disability.

“The International Day of People with Disability reminds us of the importance of ensuring Australians with disability have the opportunities to fully participate in social, economic and community life,” Senator Brandis said.

“The commitments made by the Australia Council today will make the arts accessible to more Australians – as creators, as participants and as patrons – and help to recognise the contribution people with disability make to enrich our cultural landscape.”

Mr Grybowski also released the Council’s Disability Action Plan for 2014-2016, and confirmed the Council’s commitment to embedding the intent of the plan across all aspects of the organisation.

“The revised plan has a focus on leadership, accessibility and arts practice and builds on the Australia Council’s previous work in the area of disability,” Mr Grybowski said.

“Some of the highlights include a leadership program for artists and arts workers with disability, including more peers with disability on assessment panels and further improving accessibility to the Australia Council’s website and online systems.”

Mr Grybowski also announced that Arts Access Australia’s funding had been renewed for a further three years, and that they would receive an additional $150,000 from the Unfunded Excellence funding. The funds will support new projects to increase career development and employment opportunities for artists with disability.

Arts Access Australia Chief Executive Officer Emma Bennison said the initiatives were most welcome. “These initiatives send a strong signal that the Australia Council is committed to the right of people with disability to full and equal access to the arts in Australia,” Ms Bennison said.

“We look forward to leading an ongoing dialogue between the Australia Council and the arts and disability sector to ensure these initiatives have a lasting impact.”

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Image: Tony Grybowski