Culture and heritage

Fast-tracked funding supports artists

A person jumping in the air in front of a sign that reads "Dancing tonight".

We supported more than 700 creatives with funding of up to $4000 per grant to help them invest in new works and present projects digitally, in response to COVID-19.

Our city’s vibrant arts and entertainment industry has been seriously affected by the pandemic. However, isolation has also made people turn to music, books and entertainment more than ever before.

This is why we provided Quick Response Arts Grants to artists who inspire, delight and connect us year-round, and help us make sense of life’s experiences through creative storytelling.

In four weeks we received more than 2000 grant applications. Due to the high calibre of applicants, we increased the total funding pool from $2 million to nearly $2.5 million.

Councillor Rohan Leppert, Chair of the Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio, said the level of creativity shown in the applications was impressive.

‘Melbourne’s artistic community has been hit hard by the financial impacts of COVID-19, with thousands of cancellations and lost opportunities,’ Cr Leppert said.

‘The aim of these grants is to provide some relief to artists and arts organisations, and to support them in exploring new ways of sharing their creativity.’

Joseph O’Farrell (known as JOF) received a grant to run Lounge Room Dance Jam, an empowering online dance party for young people aged 6 to 12.

The project is an adaptation of JOF’s 10 Minute Dance Parties work, which saw him collaborate with diverse groups of young people to create dance parties in shipping containers in city centres all over the world.

‘The universal nature of dance is a fantastic thing to behold. It’s accessible, silly and something we can share across generations,’ JOF said.

‘Tourists don’t travel to the city because of the great banks or mining firms, they come because of the iconic culture that lives within the cafes, restaurants, galleries and theatres of Melbourne.

‘I am thankful to the State Government and local councils for recognising artists’ contributions and supporting us when we need it most.’

Find out more about JOF’s work on Instagram: @jofmakesart

To learn more about how we support creativity in Melbourne, visit Arts Melbourne.

Meet three more arts grant recipients

Online art exhibition

Joshua Weatherlake got a grant to host an online exhibition of hand-embroidered art depicting flora and fauna.

Short films

Sarah Barton will produce a series of short films showcasing disability rights pioneers.

Stop-motion virtual reality

Isabel Peppard will create a stop-motion virtual reality project that explores the complexities of love.

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