Lockdown survival toolkit for Victorian artists

As Victoria is declared a State of Disaster, we want to support Victorian artists by updating our one-stop resource to get you through the next six weeks, from working in iso, to wellbeing and grants still up for offer.

‘Just when you thought it was safe go back in the water…’ That famous tagline from the marketing campaign for Jaws 2 has stomach-sinking currency this week as Melbourne’s metropolitan region has moved back to a six-week lockdown, and borders to Victoria closed.

While the rest of Australia feels for Melbourne and its surrounds, our concern at ArtsHub is helping artists through this most recent detour, with a quick easy resource toolkit to help you with funding resources, wellbeing advice and professional tips.

The Money: active grants and resources for VIC artists in lockdown

From a government level, the most comprehensive resource for artists sit with Creative Victoria and the Australia Council for the Arts.

For practical advice on safety and regulation, Creative Victoria’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Victoria’s Creative Industries is a great place to start.

For current funding there is VicArts Grants. Applications will be accepted for requests between $5,000 and $60,000 from both individuals and organisations. The next round opens 23 July closing 20 August.

COVID specific, is the Recovery Boost – a $10 million targeted measure announced by the Australian Government as part of the Relief and Recovery Fund, and is administered through Regional Arts Victoria. Two streams of funding are currently open:

  1. Relief (up to $5,000): grants are designed to assist regional artists, arts organisations and communities to meet their immediate needs and closes 30 September 2020. Applications will be assessed on an ongoing basis.
  2. Recovery (up to $30,000): grants are designed to meet the medium-term recovery needs of artists, organisations and communities. It will operate as a single competitive funding round, open from 1 July 2020, and closing 1 November 2020.

And last week’s Australia Council funding updates consolidated into a single list, the Australia Council’s portfolio of grant opportunities for individuals and organisations offers a path through the din.

Available to Victorian artists, peak body Live Performance Australia also unveiled a two-year recovery plan for the sector, including a JobKeeper extensions, a Business Reactivation Fund and additional support for the Australia Council.

There is also the Victorian Live Music Venues program, which is open to Victorian live music venues with a capacity of from 50 to 1,200 to respond to the devastating effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Applications now open and closing 6 August.

The next round of RAF Quick Response Grant open 1 October 2020, with further rounds 18 January and 1 April 2021. RAF (Regional Art Fund) Quick Response Grants are for up to $2,000 for Individuals, $4,000 for organisations, and are intended to assist regional artists, arts organisations and communities to take up skills development or small project opportunities. It is not COVID specific funding.

And while not directly COVID-related, this program can also help at this time. The Creative Recovery Small Grants Program supports community connection, engagement and resilience for communities impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires in regional Victoria. The program will focus on the creative activity that assists short and long term recovery, with grants of $5,000 administered through Regional Arts Victoria. It’s specific to six local government authority areas of Alpine, East Gippsland, Indigo, Mansfield, Towong and Wangaratta. Applicants can apply until 31 October 2020.

Castlemaine State Festival’s COVID-19 artist relief project will offer respite for vulnerable artists as well as provide a platform to showcase new artforms, ideas and attitudes, through their WE ARE HERE artist commission project. With grants of up to $15,000 for local creatives, some tailored for new performing/live works artists and projection/lens artists. Expressions of interest are now open until Wednesday 22 July. Castlemaine State Festival runs from 19 to 28 March 2021 in Victoria.

Professional tips and advice on working in iso

For many lockdown has been an opportunity for upskilling; for others is has been about trying to cope professionally. Here are our five most read stories offering professional advice and tips on ‘running your career’ from home.

ArtsHub has partnered with Creative Victoria to produce the Artists Essentials Toolkit which looks at how to get your arts practice online from the basics of creating a website to social media marketing to tips on monetizing your art.

Plus we looked at how other artists are coping with isolation in our podcast Creation in Isolation: The Artshubbub Episode 4.

Wellness: coping with double-dose isolation

There has been much commentary on how to cope through COVID-19 and lockdown. Here are eight of our most read articles on caring for your mental health and wellbeing at this trying time.

  1. Play to your strengths: balancing homeschooling, work and creative practice
  2. Five things about solitude: Reflections on self-isolating alone
  3. How to deal with uncertainty
  4. How the ordinary is helping creatives cope
  5. How to cope with COVID-19 mental health issues
  6. 6 anti-tips for working from home in COVID-19
  7. Where artists can go for help in isolation
  8. How culture can help you through dark times

If you’re experiencing mental health issues we encourage you to use the following mental health support services:

Lifeline – 13 11 14

Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636

Support Act Wellbeing Helpline – 1800 959 500

Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service – 1800 512 348

Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina