City of Melbourne reveals $17 million support fund to protect arts and culture

City of Melbourne reveals $17 million support fund to protect arts and culture

Melbourne earthquake
Photo by Mark Gambino/Arts Centre Melbourne
Words by Tom Parker

The support will come through grants, investment in public art and programming.

The City of Melbourne recognises the importance of the city’s arts and culture and has today announced a $17 million commitment to help these sectors work through the crisis.

The announcement comes as details of the city council’s draft Budget for 2020-21 are revealed. Recognising that arts and culture contributes $31 billion annually to the Victorian economy, the City of Melbourne understands the importance of keeping people in jobs and cementing the city’s strengths.

“Melbourne is Australia’s undisputed arts and cultural capital, but these sectors need to be supported due to the severe downturn from COVID-19,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said in a statement. “Arts and culture are a huge factor in our city’s nation-leading liveability and contribute $31 billion annually to the Victorian economy.”

Capp revealed that the $17 million would be put towards artists and arts organisations “through grants, investment in public art and programming”. A large part of the contribution is not for the post-pandemic period but for now – allowing creatives to continue working through the shutdown developing new works and online projects.

“An injection of $1.5 million will boost public art projects to make our city streets and open spaces more interesting and vibrant for the benefit of everyone who enjoys our public spaces,” Chair Councillor Rohan Leppert added. “Our Test Sites public art program is now open for expressions of interest with a pool of $125,000 available. Grants of up to $5000 will be made to 25 artists to participate in this online public art project.

“We’re also providing $4.2 million in annual and multi-year arts grants,” Leppert continued. “We have lifted our annual arts grants pool to $850,000 and will recommence indexation of multi-year grants to support small, medium and independent arts organisations.”

Part of this contribution will also go towards developing the YIRRAMBOI Festival in 2021. $125,000 will be provided to support contemporary works from outstanding First Nations artists set to participate in the event.

Find out more about the announcement here. Expressions of interest for the Test Sites 2020 program can be made online until Sunday May 31. 

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