COVID-19 is already having a significant impact on our society and economy, and people working in the arts and culture sector are particularly feeling these effects.

The State and Federal governments are working closely together on how best to support individuals, businesses and organisations during this time.

Arts South Australia has re-configured its available grant funds to assist artists and organisations to respond to immediate pressures being experienced.

Total funding of $1.5 million will be allocated in the coming weeks. The COVID-19 programs and opportunities are as follows:

Grants and funding

  • Innovating Practice: quick response grants of $5,000 to $10,000 for independent, professional artists, towards the purchase, hire or upgrade of technology and equipment – to enable development and sharing of new and existing work via digital and virtual platforms. Applications close 5pm Tuesday, 31 March 2020.
  • Creative Endeavour: quick response grants of $5,000 to $10,000 for independent, professional artists, to undertake professional development or continue creative practice in whatever form that may take. Applications close 5pm Tuesday, 31 March 2020.
    In assessing quick response grants, priority will be given to supporting artists who have had contracts cancelled, performances and tours cancelled, exhibitions postponed due to closed galleries, etc.
  • Arts Organisations’ Collaboration: grants of up to $100,000 for major arts and cultural organisations, the small-to-medium sector and independent artists to achieve employment outcomes, explore new ways of working together, create and develop work and engage with audiences. Applications close 5pm Tuesday, 14 April 2020.

It will be a condition of funding that the independent artists and smaller organisations will be the primary financial beneficiaries, with the major organisation contributing in-kind resources and organisational capacity (such as staff time or facilities) to the project or initiative which is the subject of the application.

All of these grants will be provided through simplified application and assessment processes.

Arts South Australia is also working with many organisations funded through the Arts Organisations Program that will be granted supplementary funding for a predetermined amount. Grant amounts have been determined following consideration of organisations that have experienced financial loss through cancelled tours, performances or other activities, their capacity to honour existing contracts with creatives, their capacity to continue to employ people and the available funding pool. In excess of $500,000 will be allocated through this measure.

Greater flexibility

Arts South Australia is providing flexibility for artists and arts organisations by:

  • varying the purpose, conditions and reporting requirements for all existing grants, and applications submitted in recent grant rounds, where circumstances have changed as a result of COVID-19
  • approving variations to current funding agreements to enable activity to be continued in different ways, or to enable funding recipients to honour existing contractual arrangements especially with artists and arts workers, or retain grant funding and apply it to other more pressing purposes
  • simplifying application and reporting requirements to reduce administrative burden and fast-track the release of funds.

Additionally, the Commonwealth Government has recently released a range of support measures for individuals and businesses, including income support, early release of superannuation, cash payments and guaranteed loans for small and medium businesses. Further information can be found at www.business.sa.gov.au.

Arts South Australia will provide regular updates to the sector as new information comes to hand over the coming weeks, including further support measures, and the sharing of new ideas and approaches.

Please continue to keep informed and monitor SA Health’s coronavirus advice and updates, available from the SA Health website.