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The City of Sydney Has Introduced $3 Million in Grants for Local Arts Communities

Actors, musicians, backstage staff and cultural organisations can apply for funds until April 27.
By Emma Joyce
April 15, 2020

The City of Sydney Has Introduced $3 Million in Grants for Local Arts Communities

Actors, musicians, backstage staff and cultural organisations can apply for funds until April 27.
By Emma Joyce
April 15, 2020

In an entirely virtual meeting on Monday, March 30, Councillors at the City of Sydney voted on a new financial assistance package specially created for cultural and creative industries. Lord Mayor Clover Moore says the grants are to ensure the creative community is "ready for the renaissance" following the COVID-19 crisis, when we're all ready to see live music, go to the theatre and attend arts and culture festivals again.

Though it feels like we're a world away from packing out a sweaty gig venue or sitting side-by-side in the cinema, that time will come and when it does we'll want to get out and support our local arts community — which means they need cash now in order to develop new work, pay supporting workers and keep the lights on for when we're ready for a socially intimate world.

As part of a two-round relief package worth $72.5 million, the City of Sydney has set aside $3.25 million for local arts organisations, individuals, sole traders, artist collectives and small businesses.

So who can apply?

The new Cultural Sector Resilience Grants provide up to $10,000 for sole traders, and up to $20,000 for not-for-profit arts organisations with less than 20 full-time employees. That means performing arts organisations, creative producers, arts festivals, dance schools and galleries can apply for support with wages, admin costs or training and professional development.

Artists, creative producers and other creative workers can apply for support from the Creative Fellowships Fund. Individuals and artist collectives who can demonstrate a significant loss of revenue during COVID-19 — such as cancelled events or closed venues at which they were due to perform — can apply for up to $20,000 to pay for materials or equipment, to pay themselves for their time to develop future projects, and to pay additional workers. The City of Sydney says they're looking for "innovative ways to keep creative professionals collaborating and working during restrictions on public gatherings," as well as other initiatives.

When's the deadline?

Applications close at 5pm on Monday, April 27 for both grants. The Council will meet on May 18 to discuss the grant applications and funds will be available from June 1, 2020.

Is that all?

No, there are more relief grants available to individuals and small businesses that have quicker pay-out times, too. The Quick Response Grants are available to individuals, community groups and organisations that can provide innovative, speedy responses to the COVID-19 crisis. You can apply for between $2000–5000 for programs that support vulnerable groups, deliver performances or classes online, or help people feel connected. These grants are available now until funds are allocated so get in quick if you're able to take action right now.

There are also Community Service Grants of up to $50,000 per application. Not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises, or individuals and groups, can seek funds to help provide food, digital assistance and social connection to vulnerable people during the current crisis.

The City has also made donations of $250,000 to Support Act NSW, the Artists Benevolent Fund and the Actors Benevolent Fund, who provide emergency relief and mental health support for cultural workers. It's provided $1 million-worth of rental support for artists and childcare tenants by waiving rent for the next six months. And it has donated $1 million to non-profit OzHarvest to help adapt its service model to continue to feed people reliant on the food rescue program.

Where has the money come from?

The Lord Mayor says the City will experience a significant financial dent from the crisis but that the aid has come as a result of 16 years of "sound financial management".

Find out more about the City of Sydney's COVID-19 grant and how to apply, here

Top image: Destination NSW

Published on April 15, 2020 by Emma Joyce

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