News on opportunities, what to watch online this week, and all the positive news around the edges of COVID-19.

Friday 24 April, 2020

ABC launches $5 million fund during COVID-19:

The ABC has launched a $5 million development fund – Fresh Start Fund – to support the sustainability and growth of Australia’s production industry during the COVID-19 shutdown across five streams: Enhanced Development & Production Fund; Innovation Fund; Arts Digital Fund; Children’s Content Fund, and Australian Music Fund.

The ABC is already working closely with production companies on current projects that have been delayed or suspended due to COVID-19, to find supportive solutions where possible. The public broadcaster is also acquiring additional Australian content for broadcast on ABC TV and iView. Funding applications open from 4 May to 12 June. Visit Fresh Start Fund for more information.

More than 200 artists receive Council grants:

More than $727,000 in funding has been awarded in the first round of applications, with 226 applicants – both artists and arts organisations – receiving grants of up to $4,000 each. The City of Melbourne committed $2 million to a grant program to support artists affected by COVID-19.

The City of Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Sally Capp said: ‘We’ve received more than 1600 applications for funding to create new artistic works or to stream performances online. We know supporting artists through this period is so important to our city’s economic and cultural recovery.’

The city will provide grants for up to 500 artists, performers and small arts organisations. A second round of successful applicants will be notified in the coming weeks.

Sculpture by Sea will return to Bondi Beach:

After much speculation of a move north, and run-ins with Waverly Council, Sculpture by the Sea announced this week that the exhibition will return to Bondi this spring after an agreement was reached with Waverley Council to retain the exhibition for the next ten years.

The sculpture exhibition plans to return from 22 October – 8 November, pending any public gathering restrictions remaining in place into late October. Exhibition organisers and Waverley Council have begun discussing contingency plans to postpone the event if the exhibition cannot open on 22 October.

After disagreements in 2019 over the installation of a concrete path around Marks Park, discussions have continued between Sculpture by the Sea and Waverley Council for many months, with both parties thrilled to come to an agreement to see the exhibition return to its home in Bondi. Contrary to some speculation, there has been no financial inducement requested or offered to encourage the exhibition to remain at Bondi, said founder David Handley.

For more information on how to be part of the exhibition, visit Sculpture by the Sea.


Getty Images Op:

This week Getty Images announced the latest round of its 2020 Reportage Grants, each valued at $5,000, will be awarded to eight photographers and photojournalists safely reporting stories related to the COVID-19 pandemic, with particular consideration given to those working in their home locations or immediate regions.

Ken Mainardis, Senior Vice President for Content, Getty Images said: ‘While the COVID-19 pandemic looks different depending on the locality, it’s clear that the effects of this virus will outlast the immediate public health emergency, creating significant need for stories detailing socioeconomic, social and wellness implications, as well as innovation in terms of science and technology.’

Recipients will be selected from a global pool of submissions, which close 15 May. Please visit Where we Stand to learn more.

Melbourne Fringe launches first round of Microgrants:

Melbourne Fringe has launched a new round of microgrants and bursaries to support Melbourne’s independent art scene. Simon Abrahams, Melbourne Fringe CEO and Creative Director said: ‘The first wave in our suite of grants and commissions are all about opportunities for work and money in the pockets of artists.’

Applications open from Monday 11-18 May, pending category.

ShowSupport is a match-making service for art that pairs independent artists with private donors who are interested in commissioning original work to premiere in the 2020 Festival – a $2,500 grant.

Jewel Box Grants support creative people of colour by commissioning original work to be presented at the 2020 Festival, with a $1500 commissioning fee.

XS OPEN is a new open access public art commission for contemporary, experimental and live art for children. The successful artist(s) will receive up to $10,000.

The Deadly Fringe program will commission two First Nations artists, who will each deliver a new visual art exhibition within one of Melbourne’s independent galleries as part of the 2020 Festival.

The Ralph Mclean Microgrants program offers discounted assistance for artists who are facing structural disadvantage. This includes artists from diverse backgrounds and identities like artists who are from the LGBTQI+ community, artists who are Deaf or have a disability, First Nations artists or artists who are culturally and linguistically diverse. Applications for the Ralph Mclean Microgrants will open 1 June.

NAVA weekly advocacy program:

Registration is open to join NAVA’s advocacy thinktank, held every Wednesday at 4pm. Develop your advocacy skills to champion the arts with confidence. Led by NAVA’s executive director Esther Anatolitis and Australia’s leading advocacy thinkers and practitioners, you will learn the answers to questions: What works? What doesn’t? What can we achieve together?

Register to join the thinktank by visiting NAVA and check out the program of speakers from 29 April through 19 August. It is an incredible line-up.

Arts OutWest is offering micro-grants:

Arts OutWest is offering quick turn-around grants of $300-$1,000 with the money they are saving by not spending on usual operations, such as fuel.

Two key eligibility points in applying are:

Your request must be related to recent hardship through the effects of Covid-19 on your arts practice.

The request must offer a way of improving the negative effects of Covid-19 to your arts practice or to your community.

Applications close on Thursday 30 April 2020. Applications will be assessed during the following week. Visit Arts OutWest to learn more.

2020/21 Applications Now Open for Georges Mora Fellowship:

The Georges Mora Fellowship is awarded annually to an artist who has shown a continuous commitment to the field of contemporary art.

The cash grant of $10,000 is extended by a one year’s premium membership to the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), international residency opportunities, access to organisations and individuals with specialist knowledge to support the artist to research, experiment and create. The fellow can choose to annex their research with a secure desk at the State Library of Victoria. Please see application guidelines for more.  Applications close Tuesday 5 May.

Darebin Arts Speakeasy Development program calling artists:

Development applications are now open for new performance based works through Darebin Arts Speakeasy. Artists are given a stipend of $1,000 – $2,000 and the opportunity to develop new works. Access to the spaces are negotiated when venues re-open after the closures incurred by COVID-19, and will be subject to availability.

Applications close on Wednesday 13 May, to learn more how to apply.

New film fellowship:

A new film fellowship to support the careers of future South Australian talent has been launched by Flinders University and independent filmmaker and SA Film Corp chairman, Peter Hanlon.

The initial five-year screen fellowship has been in the name of late Flinders University screen production lecturer Cole Larsen. It will support an aspiring, innovative screen-maker with a $35,000-a-year (cash and in-kind) fellowship each year (for an initial five years). In addition to cash support of $25,000 a year, the Mercury cinema has also provided $10,000 of direct support to the successful awardee, who also will be eligible for an Adelaide Film Festival screening. The Hanlon Larsen Screen Fellowship is open to applications (weblink) and will be announced at the Mercury in July.

Calling young composers for Fanfare Competition:

Artology is moving forward with the Fanfare Competition, which calls for young people aged 12-21 years to compose a 30-second work, which is recorded live by the Australian Youth Orchestra and broadcast at venues around Australia to replace the cue bells to call audiences to their seats.

The Fanfares are broadcast at partnering venues: University of Melbourne Ian Potter Southbank Centre (Vic); Adelaide Festival Centre (SA); Perth Concert Hall (WA); City Recital Hall (NSW); Queensland Performing Arts Centre (Qld) and Theatre North at the Princess (Tas).

This year it has been extended to partner with the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the Queensland Youth Orchestras, also offering a live concert event to hear their works performed. That’s over 24 new works composed by young people, workshopped and performed (travel included)!  Submissions close Monday 1 June 2020 and are accepted online.

Helpmann Academy Home Alone Film Fest – $10,000 in cash awards:

In response to COVID-19, Helpmann Academy have launchd the Home Alone Film Fest, with $10,000 in cash awards up for grabs for eligible emerging filmmakers. There’s a $7,000 award for the winning film (chosen by a panel of judges including Adelaide Film Festival CEO/Creative Director Mat Kesting and acclaimed director Richard Jasek) and a $3,000 people’s choice award voted on by the public via Helpmann’s facebook page.

The artists will be given the opportunity to produce a short piece (under 7 minutes) that shares their thoughts, feelings, stories, images and moments with the greater community as they navigate living and creating through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications close on 1 June 2020, and films will be published on Helpmann Academy’s facebook page from 2 June 2020.


Four female composers present one-act operas as Facebook Premiere Event
Carriageworks and Sydney Chamber Opera (SCO) head online this Saturday 25 April at 730pm, for a world premiere of Breaking Glass (pictured top) – four new operatic works created by Australian female composers: Peggy Polias, Josephine Macken, Georgia Scott and Bree van Reyk.

Following the temporary closure of Carriageworks during the COVID-19 crisis, these new one-act operas will be presented for the first time as a Facebook Premiere Event to be broadcast free to the public on the Carriageworks Facebook page.

Presented in partnership with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Composing Women Program, the season has been directed by Clemence Williams and SCO Artistic Associate Danielle Maas, two women determined to expand the possibility for operatic storytelling.

Monash streaming Aussie Musicians
With most of the world’s arts and entertainment precincts closed, the Monash Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) has taken its scheduled MLIVE concert series online.

The series will be streamed via Facebook and YouTube for the next six weeks following a successful trial on Wednesday, 15 April with vocalist Lior and Australia’s most distinguished pianist Paul Grabowsky AO, where more than 14,000 people tuned in via Facebook and 2,200 on YouTube.

Each week the concerts will feature a single artist or an artist with one other musician at Monash’s world-class David Li Sound Gallery, with performances starting at 7pm and lasting between 40 and 55 minutes.

Paul Grabowsky, who is also MAPA’s Executive Director, said the concert series ‘can bring joy and a momentary distraction from feelings of stress, anxiety or suffering.’ To find out more and view the live stream.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) has launched this week, Your MCA, which includes kids and families art activities for the April school holidays, inspired by the 22nd Biennale of Sydney NIRIN exhibition.

It also includes a youth-led online GENEXT for teens aged 12 to 18 years; conversations between MCA curators and leading Australian and international artists on what it means to be an artist working today; and online learning programs for parents and teachers to help children while home from school.  Check the MCA website for program details.

Top Design moves online:

The annual Top Designs exhibition was set to open at Melbourne Museum in March to celebrate its twentieth year. While the Museum’s doors are temporarily closed it has taken Top Designs 2020 digitally as part of our Museum at Home project.

Top Designs exhibition is a key event in VCE and VCE VET design students’ year, and with students now learning from home, we hope this virtual exhibition and associated content provides inspiration to those studying in new ways. View the virtual exhibition here: Top Designs 2020


The Silver Gull Play Award finds new home:

New Theatre is proud to announce that is has become the new home of The Silver Gull Play Award. The Silver Gull Play Award 2020 will recognise an outstanding play by a NSW-based writer that aligns with New Theatre’s commitment to producing ‘Plays With A Purpose’.

This year the total prize money for the award will be $5000. The winning playwright will receive $3000 and the remainder of the prize pool will be split evenly between the shortlisted writers.

The initiative of leading independent production company subtlenuance, which hosted the award for five years and assessing over 200 plays, has handed over the baton to New Theatre this year. Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, no date has been set for the presentation of the short-listed finalists and announcement of the winner.

The Silver Gull Play Award has been sponsored since 2015 by The Buzz from Sydney. Deadline for submissions is midnight 31 July 2020.


City of Melbourne cancels 2020 Firelight Festival:

The City of Melbourne has cancelled the 2020 Firelight Festival in response to COVID-19.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said: ‘While the Firelight Festival is still two months away, it’s not clear when restrictions on large gatherings will be lifted.’ The 2020 Firelight Festival was planned for the nights of 26-28 June, and last year attracted more than 75,000 people to the Docklands precinct and had an estimated $4 million economic impact on the municipality.

Festival and Regional Conference cancelled:

Junction’s 10th Anniversary Festival and Artlands Conference that was to be held from 2-6 September will be postponed until 2021. Ongoing restrictions for gatherings and travel as well as the uncertainty as to when the COVID-19 pandemic will come to an end have created a very difficult and unknown environment for planning and developing new works for the Festival.

Horizon Festival 2020 reimagined:

Sunshine Coast Council’s 10-day Horizon Festival – originally scheduled to begin late August – has been reimagined to ensure our local artists and arts audiences won’t miss out in 2020 as a result of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Horizon will showcase a smaller program of digital events and activities in partnership with local artists and the community, commencing in June.  Visit for updates.

CAIF pivots online:

The annual Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) will continue to support Queensland artists and communities by exploring a new and interactive, digital festival platform. With the theme ‘The cultural evolution’ the fair will be held online from 10-12 July 2020.

‘Doing things in a different way is nothing new to our artists!’ said CIAF Chair Tom Mosby. ‘While we acknowledge that these are challenging times, we see this as an opportunity to explore digital innovation in response to the circumstances currently facing the Australian art community.’

‘An online presence will make for a much bigger global stage and audience providing long term benefits to Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and the CIAF brand beyond what we are currently experiencing,’ CIAF’s Artistic Director Janina Harding


Exhibition about internet narcissism forced to go online with COVID-19
Carriageworks has unveiled an online program created around the major new installation Cinopticon by Giselle Stanborough. Cinopticon – which was commissioned by Carriageworks as part of Suspended Moment: The Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship – is fully installed at Carriageworks and has been transformed into a digital offering.

Carriageworks Director and CEO Blair French said this work has been a year in development. The online experience of the exhibition is accessed via the Carriageworks Journal and includes artist diaries, artist and curator ‘in conversations’, playlists, video content  and exhibition imagery supplemented with curatorial insights.

Carriageworks plans to release new online content weekly, including an interactive art-wall, curatorial essays and a new video work created by Giselle Stanborough exclusively for Carriageworks Journal.

Exhibition Curator Daniel Mudie Cunningham said: ‘At the heart of its sensory quest, Cinopticon probes what it means to both be watched and watch others. Stanborough’s practice is primarily concerned with the relationship between connectivity and isolation, public and private.’

Cinopticon draws on internet narcissism, corporate surveillance and the manipulation of social media algorithms. It is an immersive performance installation in which audiences see their reflection in unpredictable ways. The most unpredictable being the manner in which we now find ourselves, at home and socially distant, seeing Cinopticon from afar.