City of Melbourne releases $2million in coronavirus artist grants

Grants to be released as 500 increments of $4000

The City of Melbourne has released $2million in grant funds for artists and art organisations impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

The money will be dispensed through 500 grants of $4000 to individual artists (those classified as sole traders) and “small” arts organisations. The grants are to provide relief to those who have lost significant income, to develop new work (“development grants”) and to facilitate online performance (“online presentation grants”).

The decision was handed down last night (March 25) at a Special Council meeting, with applications open from today (March 26) on the council’s website.


Per funding guidelines, artists who wish to apply for online presentation grants must “upload the work or activity presentation within one to six weeks” and “describe how the on line (sic) presentation of [their] work or activity will help support [their] practice”. Development grants are not required to nominate the previously mandatory presentation outcome when applying.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp also called on the philanthropic community to support the arts in Melbourne.

“On a normal weekend, more people attend cultural events than sporting events in Melbourne. The arts sector is intrinsically linked to Melbourne’s brand and supports jobs in our night time economy and our hospitality industries. So when artists don’t have work, our entire city suffers,” Capp said in a press release.

The City of Melbourne’s announcement arrives concurrently with The Australia Council’s financial relief package for artists affected by the coronavirus crisis, which alters their Four Year Funding to focus on immediate support. The latter is available for artists across Australia, while only artists that live and work in The City of Melbourne can access the former.