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

    13 May 2016

    The Australia Council for the Arts has today 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,” Mr Grybowski said.

    “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.”

    Key Facts

    • $112 million will be invested in the new Four Year Funding program for small to medium arts organisations, with a total of $28 million per year awarded to 128 organisations.
    • There are 43 new organisations (33%) receiving multi-year core program funding.
    • The average Four Year Funding level is $219,000, compared with $157,000 under the previous programs.
    • More than 80% of the successful applicants have a focus on creating new work over the next four years.
    • 80% of the successful organisations will deliver capacity building as part of their activities.
    • Two thirds of the successful applicants identified international activity as a priority.
    • More than half the organisations plan to tour as part of their program.
    • 10 theatre companies making work by, with, and for young people, have been successful.
    • 17 First Nations-led organisations have been funded and more than 40% of successful applicants identified an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture component to their work.
    • Applications were received from across the country, with 25% of successful applicants based in regional or remote areas.
    • 262 applications were received for Four Year Funding.
    • 124 applicants were successful through the Four Year assessment process. There are four additional organisations being funded under the Four Year program through partnerships with state and territory arts agencies.
    • 73 peers assessed applications for arts organisations in the areas of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts; Community Arts and Cultural Development; Dance; Emerging and Experimental Arts; Literature; Multi-Arts; Music; Theatre; and Visual Arts.
    • Organisations needed to submit a five year strategic plan that addressed the published criteria, including artistic merit or quality of services to the arts, along with organisational capacity and contribution to the Australia Council’s strategic goals.
    • The minimum amount of funding arts organisations could request each year was $75,000 and the maximum was $300,000. Recipients of Four Year Funding are no longer eligible to apply for Council project grants from 2017.
    • The Four Year Funding agreements will start on 1 January 2017 and finish on 31 December 2020. Applications will open for the next round of Four Year Funding in 2019.
    • Australia Council funding is part of a national arts funding framework which includes support through federal, state and local government programs, private sector support and philanthropy.
    • No organisations have been cut or defunded. The current cohort of small to medium organisations have contracts until December 2016 and would always have had to apply in a competitive environment for the next round of multi-year organisational funding.

    To see the Four Year Funding results click here.

    Applications are now open for the next project grants round, which closes on 7 June 2016.

    For more information go to: www.australiacouncil.gov.au

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