Australia Council announces first results of new grants model

    16 June 2015

    The Australia Council for the Arts has today announced $9.1 million of investment in Australian arts through the first round of its new grants program.

    Australia Council Chair Rupert Myer AO said that the Council was delighted with such a strong response to its new streamlined grants model and peer assessment process, both the result of a two-year reform process and extensive consultation with the sector. Mr Myer said that while the round was highly competitive the new model had broadened opportunities for the arts sector with 273 projects supported, including 20 per cent from first time applicants.

    “The sector took up the challenge to be culturally ambitious through their artistic practice and innovative collaborations, proposing projects of scale and sophistication. It is exciting to see artists and organisations finding new ways to engage, inspire and challenge audiences across the country and around the globe,” Mr Myer said.

    “The Australia Council’s legislation charges us with fostering excellence in Australian arts practice and supporting a diverse range of activities. This first round in our new grants model has certainly delivered that. The depth and diversity of projects reflect the breadth of Australian society, and demonstrate the kind of fearless creativity and freedom of artistic expression of which Australians should be proud.

    “The peer assessment process used in our grants model ensures these outcomes are delivered. The 69 expert artistic peers involved in this round brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the process. They represented all states and territories, all art forms, and 28 per cent were from regional Australia, 20 per cent from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and 20 per cent from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts. ”

    “Approximately 20 per cent of the projects are being delivered by artists or organisations based in regional Australia, ensuring that regional audiences benefit from art made by artists in their own communities. In addition to this a number of projects include work toured between metro and regional areas.”  

    “The Council is committed to Australia being increasingly known for its great art and artists, and we will continue to support opportunities which raise the profile of Australian arts internationally and build new markets and audiences. We know that one in three artists work globally and that is reflected in the 38 per cent of grant recipients in this round whose main location of project activity will be overseas. It is a wonderful outcome that this round will support 105 projects from independent artists and small to medium arts organisations to represent Australia in 34 countries.”   

    Australia Council Chief Executive Tony Grybowski said the more than 1,700 applications received from small to medium arts organisations, individuals and groups were bold and innovative, demonstrating the depth and artistic vibrancy of Australia’s national arts ecology.

    “It is wonderful to be able to invest in so many projects of such high quality and adventurous work which will benefit audiences across the country and beyond,” Mr Grybowski said.

    “The Council received a strong response and many innovative projects in the new multi-art form category and the dedicated funding for artists with disability. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts also attracted an impressive pool of applications that highlight the depth and diversity of contemporary Indigenous arts practice.

    “This $9.1 million investment includes $4.6 million to arts organisations, $3.1 million to individual artists and $1.4 million to groups. It is exciting to note that 55 per cent of the projects are being undertaken by individual artists and that we are seeing work that will have benefits and impact well beyond that one artist.

    “The volume and quality of the applications meant there were many projects of excellence we were not able to fund in this round, which is part of the 2014-15 budget.

    “The Australia Council remains committed to supporting a vibrant and sustainable arts sector in Australia, and ensuring that this investment provides significant benefits to the broader Australian public. Our work includes support for artists at every stage of their career, investment in arts organisations of all sizes, and strategic investment to develop global markets and audiences.”

    The Council remains uniquely positioned to be a strong advocate and enabler of Australian arts, drawing on the extensive arts expertise of its staff and a significant knowledge base built over almost half a century of supporting the arts in this country and its effective and active program of engagement with the arts sector.

    Fact sheet

    •  The new grants model opened in January 2015 offering a simpler, more transparent and accessible model which is more responsive to changing arts practice.

    •  The new grants program reduced 140 categories to five, and includes streamlined criteria and new opportunities to apply for multiple stages of a project in one application.

    •  Grants offered in the March round: Development grants for individuals and groups valued at between $5,000 and $25,000; Arts project grants for individuals and groups valued at between $10,000 and $50,000; Arts project grants for organisations valued at between $10,000 and $150,000; Development grants of up to $25,000 and project grants of up to $50,000 for individuals and groups for Artists with Disability.

    •  Peers assessed grants for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts; Arts and Disability; Community Arts and Cultural Development; Dance; Emerging and Experimental Arts; Literature; Multi-artform; Music; Theatre; and Visual Arts.

    •  273 projects have been supported, including 150 by individual artists, 73 by organisations and 50 by groups of artists.

    •  Applications were received from across the country and $1.7 million has been provided to artists and arts organisations in regional Australia.

    •  More than 20 per cent of projects identified access and participation or audience engagement as their main focus. 

    •  Applicants could select which art form panel assessed their application.

    As previously announced, due to the significant impact of the 2015-16 budget measures on Australia Council funding, the June grant round, including government programs, will not proceed and the Six-Year Funding for Arts Organisations category has been suspended.  Existing applications can be assessed within the September round, which closes on 1 September.  This round will include multi-year project support for individual artists and arts organisations.

    Link to the Awarded Grants page here.

    To apply, go to: www.australiacouncil.gov.au

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