Arts funding: shining a light on certain truths

25 collectives that previously had no access to multi-year government support will share in more than $85M from the Victorian Government over the next few years, writes Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson.

At the tail end of 2021, at the launch of the newly rebuilt La Mama Theatre in Carlton, a small group of arts workers led by the legendary Liz Jones launched into The Beatles classic ‘Here Comes the Sun’. Just as the crowd joined in, for a brief moment, the grey skies parted and a ray of sun shone through.

It was a beautiful moment of symbolism and optimism – for a theatre rebuilt and reborn from the ashes of a devastating 2018 fire, and for a creative sector emerging from close to two years of closures, cancellations and disruptions.

Creative workers were among the first to lose their jobs due to the pandemic and some of the last to get back to work. Yet the pandemic highlighted our reliance on creative industries to sustain us, to nurture us and to support us through one of our toughest challenges.

Arts, culture and creativity play a fundamental role in Victoria in animating and activating our cities, suburbs and regions. They bring us together; they help us make sense of, make fun of, or momentarily forget the challenges around us. They also underpin the strength of our economy. Innovation, creativity, critical thinking – these are all vital components of a diverse, strong and resilient economy.

Moreover, creative industries, in every way, gives us meaning and they gives us purpose.

And this is why it’s vitally important that governments support the creative sector, providing certainty so that arts workers and organisations can plan ahead with confidence and create.

By this investment, we enrich our society with currencies beyond just money. The value of art and creative experiences is immeasurable, and makes up our collective identity and memory. What value do we put on that?

La Mama – the birthplace of independent Australian theatre – is one of 113 creative organisations across Victoria that will share in more than $85 million from the Victorian Government over the next few years.

Other icons such as the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Heide Museum are among those that have received a funding confirmation letter, along with 25 creative collectives that have not previously had access to multi-year government support.

These organisations – large, small, established, new and everything in between – reflect and celebrate contemporary Victoria in all our glorious diversity and rich creativity.

From dance to design, fashion to festivals, these entities range across every imaginable creative discipline. There are social enterprises helmed by refugees, festivals celebrating marginalised groups, theatre companies for young people and organisations showcasing artists with a disability. The depth and diversity of talent is impressive and distinctly Victorian.

Busting the myth that the arts are confined to the inner-city, the groups represent communities in Macclesfield, Upwey, Warrnambool, Shepparton, Mildura, Natimuk and Lake Tyers, among others.

For far too long the stories and voices of First Peoples have been forcibly silent. We will never achieve our potential as a nation until their voices are heard and that is why First Peoples’ culture, creativity, leadership and employment in the creative industries are key priorities.

Nine incredible First Peoples-led organisations are supported through this latest package of funding, including newcomers such as Joel Bray Dance Company, Na Djinang Circus and fashion label Gammin Threads.

Government support provides certainty through uncertain times – a stable base from which creative entities can create new work, employ artists, push boundaries and connect with audiences across the state and beyond, enriching all of our lives in the process.

The creative drive, ideas, talent and work of Victorian creative show us there’s plenty to be optimistic about here in Victoria, the creative state.

Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson on Friday released details of long-term funding for 113 Victorian creative organisations. 

Creative Enterprises Program (2022 – 2025)

* includes Sustaining Creative Organisations COVID recovery funding in 2022

Abbotsford Convent, ABBOTSFORD, $800,000

Abbotsford Convent is a multi-arts precinct spread over 16 acres and home to a diverse creative community.

Aphids, MELBOURNE, $434,400*

Aphids is an artist-led organisation, creating and producing cross-artform projects in Victoria, interstate and internationally.

Arapiles Community Theatre, NATIMUK, $400,000

Arapiles Community Theatre delivers the biennial Nati Frinj festival and works to develop the arts in the Natimuk community and surrounding region.

Arena Theatre Company, BENDIGO, $760,000

Arena Theatre Company creates live performances for audiences aged 5 to 25 years that investigate the experiences of young people. 

Arts Access Victoria, SOUTH MELBOURNE, $1,844,000*

Arts Access Victoria delivers a range of programs supporting and representing people with a disability to realise their cultural aspirations as artists, arts workers and audiences.

Arts Mildura Inc., MILDURA, $800,000

Arts Mildura presents visual and performing arts experiences to a broad range of audiences and works with local artists from the Mallee.

Arts Project Australia Inc, NORTHCOTE, $400,000

Arts Project Australia is a creative social enterprise that works with artists with intellectual disabilities, promotes their work and advocates for their inclusion in contemporary art practice. 

AusDance Victoria Australian Dance Council, YARRAVILLE, $520,000

AusDance Victoria is the peak professional body for dance in Victoria and the lead agency for dance education nationally.

Australian Art Orchestra Ltd, NEWPORT, $400,000

The Australian Art Orchestra creates music with an emphasis on improvisation and working with musicians from diverse backgrounds and with First Peoples musicians and artists.

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, SOUTHBANK, $3,072,952

The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art is Victoria’s flagship contemporary arts space. It presents free public exhibitions of artwork by living artists from Australia and around the world.

Australian Museums and Galleries Association, CARLTON, $1,362,660

Australian Museums and Galleries Association is a peak body for Victoria’s 1,000 museums and galleries.

Australian Poetry, MELBOURNE, $400,000

Australian Poetry is the peak body for poetry in working with publishers, teachers, readers and festival organisers.

Australian Print Workshop, FITZROY, $674,520

The Australian Print Workshop is a fine-art print workshop offering state-of-the-art printmaking facilities to artists and the general public.

Australian Tapestry Workshop, SOUTH MELBOURNE, $903,000

The Australian Tapestry Workshop is an international centre of excellence for contemporary, hand-woven tapestries, created in collaboration with leading artists, architects and designers.

Ballarat International Foto Biennale, BALLARAT, $592,827*

Ballarat International Foto Biennale presents a month-long biennial festival of contemporary photography in multiple locations around Ballarat. 

Baluk Arts, MORNINGTON, $400,000

Baluk Arts is an urban Aboriginal community arts centre that supports artistic, career and audience development for Indigenous artists of the Bayside, Peninsula and south-east Melbourne.

Castlemaine Art Museum, CASTLEMAINE, $440,000

Castlemaine Art Museum is an art gallery and museum founded in 1913 in the Shire of Mount Alexander.

Castlemaine State Festival, CASTLEMAINE, $802,400*

The Castlemaine State Festival is a biennial multi-arts festival that celebrates the creative culture of Castlemaine and its surrounding region.

Chamber Made Opera Inc, NORTH MELBOURNE, $684,520*

Chamber Made Opera brings together artists from different art forms to create experimental contemporary opera and musical theatre.

Chunky Move, SOUTHBANK, $3,512,000

Chunky Move is Victoria’s flagship contemporary dance company.

Contemporary Music Victoria Inc., COLLINGWOOD, $1,500,000 (in partnership with Community Music Victoria)

Music Victoria is the state peak body for contemporary music and provides advocacy on behalf of the music sector, actively supports the development of the Victorian music community, and celebrates and promotes Victorian music.

Craft Victoria, MELBOURNE, $1,145,600

Craft Victoria is the peak body for craft in Victoria.

Dancehouse Inc, CARLTON NORTH, $710,000*

Dancehouse is a centre for independent dance makers in Melbourne.

Dandenong Ranges Community Cultural Centre (Burrinja Cultural Centre), UPWEY, $461,962*

Burrinja is a community cultural centre that encompasses multiple gallery spaces, artist studios, and a world-class collection of Indigenous and oceanic art.

East Gippsland Art Gallery, BAIRNSDALE, $400,000

East Gippsland Art Gallery showcases the diverse artistic spirit of the region through a program of art and cultural experiences.

Emerging Writers’ Festival, MELBOURNE, $400,000

Emerging Writers Festival is a platform for connecting and profiling Australia’s emerging writers across live events throughout Australia and online.

Express Media Inc, MELBOURNE, $562,000

Express Media is a youth organisation committed to the development of a new generation of Australian writers and offers programs and opportunities to support this process.

Flinders Quartet Inc., MELBOURNE, $400,000

Flinders Quartet is chamber music ensemble that embraces new and emerging composers in its ongoing mission to further the Australian tradition of chamber music.

Flying Fruit Fly Foundation, WODONGA, $427,140

Flying Fruit Fly Circus provides a circus program for young people aged 8 to 19 focusing on the training of physical, performance and creative skills, and creating career pathways for circus artists.

Footscray Community Arts Centre, FOOTSCRAY, $1,624,000*

Footscray Community Arts Centre provides artistic programs and experiences to the diverse communities of the Western Region of Melbourne.

Geelong Gallery, GEELONG, $560,000

Geelong Gallery was established in 1896 and is one of Australia’s leading art galleries.

Gertrude Contemporary, PRESTON, $894,812*

Gertrude Contemporary is a leading contemporary visual art organisation supporting the creation and presentation of new work.

Heide Park and Art Gallery, HEIDELBERG, $6,118,640*

Heide Museum of Modern Art is a major outer-metropolitan art museum and sculpture park for modern Australian visual arts.

HotHouse Theatre Ltd, WODONGA, $720,000

HotHouse Theatre Ltd is a national incubator of high-quality theatre productions as well as a centre for artistic retreat and development in Northern Victoria.

Jewish Museum of Australia, ST KILDA, $516,923*

The Jewish Museum of Australia is a place for all people to share in the Australian Jewish experience through art and culture.

Kaiela Arts, SHEPPARTON, $1,044,348*

Kaiela Arts exhibits and promotes the work of Shepparton-based Indigenous artists and works to build the market for South Eastern Australian Aboriginal arts and culture.

Koorie Heritage Trust, MELBOURNE, $878,417*

The Koorie Heritage Trust Inc supports and promotes the diversity of South East Australian Aboriginal peoples and provides opportunities for all people to experience, learn, and connect with living Koorie culture.

La Mama Inc, CARLTON, $1,117,300*

La Mama Inc is a theatre company that offers performing artists the opportunity, space, support and resources with which to take risks and make new work.

Linden New Art Inc., ST KILDA, $400,000

Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts is an art gallery exhibiting new work by contemporary artists.

Liquid Architecture Sound, COLLINGWOOD, $453,538*

Liquid Architecture showcases the quality and diversity of contemporary sonic arts practice through the public presentation of sound art and experimental music.

Lucy Guerin Association Inc, NORTH MELBOURNE, $640,000

Lucy Guerin Inc creates and presents new contemporary dance works that challenge artists, audiences and the form of dance.

McClelland Sculpture Park, LANGWARRIN, $462,000

McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery presents outdoor sculptures by Australian artists displayed in native bushland, alongside other exhibitions and programs.

Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS), NORTH MELBOURNE, $400,000

MESS is a studio dedicated to the creation of electronic sound and music.

Melbourne Fringe, CARLTON, $1,668,000*

Melbourne Fringe presents the annual 18-day Melbourne Fringe Festival, and works year-round to provide independent artists with the tools to create, present and promote their work.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival, MELBOURNE, $7,421,400*

Melbourne International Comedy Festival schedules a year-round program of comedy with touring, educational and artistic development programs that complement the presentation of the annual four-week festival.

Melbourne Jazz Limited (Melbourne International Jazz Festival), NORTH MELBOURNE, $1,680,000

Melbourne International Jazz Festival is a celebration of jazz, with a range of free and ticketed events.

Melbourne Writers Festival Ltd, MELBOURNE, $1,220,402*

Melbourne Writers Festival is Melbourne’s annual, two-week event for writers, readers and thinkers.

Midsumma Festival Inc, SOUTHBANK, $1,122,500*

Midsumma is Australia’s premier queer arts and cultural organisation, bringing together LGBTQIA+ artists, performers, communities and audiences primarily through its annual festival.

Multicultural Arts Victoria Inc, NORTHCOTE, $1,344,000

Multicultural Arts Victoria Inc is Victoria’s peak arts organisation promoting cultural diversity in the arts, representing artists and communities from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

National Exhibitions Touring Support (NETS) Victoria, MELBOURNE, $831,600

NETS Victoria is the peak body for touring contemporary visual culture and design in Victoria.

Next Wave Inc., BRUNSWICK, $1,720,000

Next Wave Inc. provides year-round activities and programs that provide artist-led opportunities for creatives to develop and present new works across disciplines and generations to a wide audience.

Open House Melbourne, EAST MELBOURNE, $400,000

Open House Melbourne runs an annual program of events in Melbourne and regional Victoria to foster public appreciation for architecture and engage the public in conversations about the future of our cities.

Outer Urban Projects, COBURG NORTH, $400,000

Outer Urban Projects is a performing arts company that collaborates with young people and their communities in Melbourne’s culturally diverse, outer northern suburbs.

Platform Youth Arts, GEELONG, $400,000

Through a broad creative program, Platform gives young people opportunities to develop their own creative work and practice, and be part of an inclusive, diverse creative community

Polyglot Puppet Theatre, ABBOTSFORD, $840,000

Polyglot Theatre is Australia’s leading creator of participatory theatre for children and families.

Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, PORT FAIRY, $400,000

The Port Fairy Spring Music Festival is a music festival that highlights established and emerging professional artists presenting classical and contemporary ensemble music.

Public Galleries Association of Victoria, MELBOURNE, $400,000

The Public Galleries Association of Victoria is the peak body for public galleries in Victoria.

Punctum Inc., CASTLEMAINE, $400,000

Punctum is an artist-led organisation that fosters new approaches to collaborative performance making.

Rawcus Theatre Company Inc., ST KILDA WEST, $400,000

Rawcus Theatre Company Inc. is an ensemble of artists with and without a disability that presents a program of projects, commissions, presentations and workshops for the general public.

Red Stitch Actors Theatre, ST KILDA EAST, $423,077*

Red Stitch Actor’s Theatre is a theatre company that presents a regular annual program plays and is committed to promoting Australian theatre culture.

Regional Arts Victoria, MELBOURNE, $3,515,140*

Regional Arts Victoria is the peak body for regional and rural arts in Victoria with more than 100 arts councils and affiliates as members.

Shepparton Arts Festival Inc., SHEPPARTON, $400,000

Shepparton Festival presents an annual grassroots, multi-art event.

Snuff Puppets, FOOTSCRAY, $449,820

Snuff Puppets is an experimental puppet theatre company producing idiosyncratic performances locally, nationally and internationally.

Songlines Aboriginal Music Corporation, PRESTON, $800,000

Songlines provides opportunities for Victorian-based Indigenous musicians and performers to develop skills, showcase their artistic abilities and engage with the arts sector.

Speak Percussion Inc., PRESTON, $400,000

Speak Percussion highlights percussion instruments through its program of events.

St Martin’s Youth Arts Centre, SOUTH YARRA, $899,220

St Martin’s Youth Arts Centre provides theatre programs that embody inclusion, civic mindedness and social engagement for people aged 5-30 years.

Stephanie Lake Company, MELBOURNE, $400,000

Stephanie Lake Company creates and tours contemporary dance works, working in collaboration with leading dancers, designers and composers.

The Push Inc., COLLINGWOOD, $400,000

The Push is a youth music that delivers a range of programs for Australia’s future music industry leaders, artists and audiences. 

The Social Studio, COLLINGWOOD, $400,000

The Social Studio is a fashion studio that uses up-cycled fashion as a vehicle for social change and to provide education and employment pathways for young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

The Substation Inc., NEWPORT, $918,644*

The Substation is a centre presenting artists across artistic disciplines through an annual program of creative development, residencies and presentation.

The Torch, ST KILDA, $800,000

The Torch provides art, cultural and arts industry support and opportunities to Indigenous offenders and ex-offenders in Victoria.

The Wheeler Centre, MELBOURNE, $6,166,400

The Wheeler Centre is nationally and internationally renowned for its year-round program of talks and lectures, readings and debates about writing and ideas.

Theatre Network Australia, SOUTHBANK, $717,785*

Theatre Network Australia Victoria is a national organisation with a dedicated Victorian program supporting the professional theatre industry.

Theatre Works Limited, ST KILDA, $811,003*

Theatre Works is a multi-purpose, contemporary performance venue in St Kilda.

West Space Inc., COLLINGWOOD, $400,000

West Space is an artist-led organisation presenting contemporary art for Victorian arts audiences.

Western Edge Youth Arts, FOOTSCRAY, $600,000

Western Edge Youth Arts collaborates with young people under the age of 26 from diverse cultures to create complex and transformative works.

Women’s Circus Limited, FOOTSCRAY, $400,000

Women’s Circus is a feminist arts organisation dedicated to enriching the lives of women through social circus and performance.

Writers Victoria Inc., MELBOURNE, $589,600

Writers Victoria is the peak body for writers in Victoria and provides information, resources and skills development opportunities to nurture, promote and assist its members.

Strategic Initiatives (funding over two years)

BalletLab, SOUTH MELBOURNE, $112,500

BalletLab creates original contemporary dance works in collaboration with artistic partners across art forms.

Bus Projects, ABBOTSFORD, $90,000

Bus Projects is an artist run initiative that provides a platform for the development and presentation of contemporary visual arts.

Centre for Contemporary Photography, FITZROY, $150,000

The Centre for Contemporary Photography delivers an exhibition program utilising local, national and international artists.

Creative Clunes Inc, CLUNES, $90,000

Creative Clunes stages an annual festival-of-the-book with the aim of making Clunes one of the great and literary Booktowns of the world.

Cultural Development Network, MELBOURNE, $90,000

Cultural Development Victoria advocates for the essential role of arts and cultural expression in the development of creative, healthy, engaged and sustainable communities.

Experimenta Media Arts Inc, MELBOURNE, $112,500

Experimenta Media Arts develops and supports media artists and their practice through a biennial exhibition, commissioning program and national and international touring.

Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, MELBOURNE, $90,000

Melbourne Chamber Orchestra (MCO) is an independent chamber music performance organisation that tours chamber music and small orchestral music across Victoria.

Overland Magazine, MELBOURNE, $90,000

Overland commissions, edits, promotes and oversees the distribution of new Australian creative and critical writing.

Royal Historical Society of Victoria, MELBOURNE, $112,500

The Royal Historical Society of Victoria is the peak body for the preservation and promotion of heritage throughout Victoria.

The Boite, COLLINGWOOD, $112,500

The Boîte (Victoria) Inc supports cultural diversity through the sharing of music, dance and storytelling from diverse traditions.

The Museum of Chinese Australian History, MELBOURNE, $112,500

The Museum of Chinese Australian History collects and researches Australian Chinese history.

The Sovereign Hill Museums Association (Gold Museum), BALLARAT, $379,500

The Gold Museum is located in Ballarat and is operated by a business unit of the Sovereign Hill Museums Association. Its purpose is to inspire an understanding of the significance of the central Victorian gold rushes in Australia’s national story.

Victorian Association of Performing Arts Centres, NEWHAM, $90,000

VAPAC Inc is a membership based organisation for professionally managed venues delivering performing arts programs across Victoria.

Wangaratta Festival of Jazz Inc., WANGARATTA, $112,500

The Wangaratta Festival of Jazz is a four-day celebration which is typically staged during the Melbourne Cup weekend.

Wantok Musik Foundation, THORNBURY, $90,000

The Wantok Music Foundation records, releases and promotes music from Indigenous Australia and Melanesia with an emphasis on mentoring and transfer of skills and access.

Creative Ventures Program (2022 – 2023) (funding over two years)

MDCH Pty Ltd, HAWTHORN, $200,000

To support Melbourne Digital Concert Hall to develop a hybrid live/online model in 2022/23 as venues reopen.

Circus Nexus Inc, PRESTON, $200,000

To support the establishment of Studio Nexus, a new professional development program aimed at strengthening the circus and physical theatre industry through increased diversity and greater sustainability.

Gammin threads, THORNBURY, $200,000

To support Gammin Threads, a First Peoples-led streetwear brand, create two capsule collections for 2023 in collaboration with First Peoples artist Jarra Karalinar Steel.

FLOW Festival Australia, THORNBURY, $200,000

To support FLOW Festival, Australia’s first and only Deaf Arts festival, to deliver its program across 2022 and 2023.

Highwire Entertainment Pty Ltd, RESERVOIR, $195,000

To support the establishment of the Livewire Residency Project, a two-year pilot program that will engage circus artists in performance creation.

FLOAT INCORPORATED, LAKE TYERS BEACH, $160,000

To support an arts-activated precinct at Gippsland Lakes called OBSERVATORIUM in collaboration with the East Gippsland School of Untourism.

Born in a Taxi, ALTONA NORTH, $198,500

To support Born in a Taxi increase access to art through the CUBE public art program, providing training in regional areas and developing a research program. 

tilde – Melbourne’s Trans and Gender Diverse Film Festival Inc, FOOTSCRAY, $172,000

To develop a new program model to support emerging Trans and Gender Diverse arts workers to develop skills in the screen industry.

Na Djinang Circus Pty Ltd, FOOTSCRAY, $199,014

To support develop a series of public works centred around championing the voices of First Nations artists and growing the diversity of the circus sector.

Jacob Boehme, DOCKLANDS, $199,620

To support Jacob Boehme Company to develop and present three new performance works centred around First Nations stories.

Leah McIntosh, BRUNSWICK EAST, $200,000

To support Liminal, a literary collective and platform that celebrates Asian-Australian writers, to expand its programming.

Schizy Incorporated, BRUNSWICK WEST, $146,000

To support Schizy Inc to establish a dedicated arts studio at Collingwood Yards for creatives with lived experience of schizophrenia.

JAM the label, MALVERN EAST, $174,380

To support JAM the label to collaborate with an emerging fashion designer with a disability, and release a range of fashion-forward and inclusive/adaptive garments.

Find Your Voice Collective Incorporated, WARRNAMBOOL, $200,000

To deliver In Plain Sight, a development program to legitimise arts career pathways and practices for Deaf and Disabled artists living in South West Victoria.

Bukjeh, LALOR, $200,000

To support the Bukjeh social enterprise/collective to develop a program of storytelling performances and exhibitions that empower refugee artists to share their experiences.

Frame Documentary Ltd, FITZROY, $200,000

To support the development of Frame Doc Lab – an Australian-first incubating and audience engagement program supporting mid-career creators with a non-fiction screen project in development.

Residency Projects, CLIFTON HILL, $170,000

To support a multidiscipline residency program for First Peoples, CALD, LGBTIQ+ and Deaf and/or Disabled artists at the Garambi Baan/Laughing Waters Residency Centre.

Joel Bray, FITZROY, $200,000

To support Joel Bray Dance Company to undertake the creative development of two major new works over 2022 and 2023.

SEVENTH Gallery, RICHMOND, $174,633

To support SEVENTH Gallery to continue its annual program of exhibitions, public programs, emerging writers’ program and mentorship program.

Hatch And Make Pty Ltd, MACCLESFIELD, $194,871

To support Hatch and Make implement a best-practice pilot model for sustainable premium knitwear design and production.

Danny Pearson MP is Victoria's Minister for Creative Industries and the Labor member for Essendon.

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