A group of arts and culture philanthropists, in association with the Myer Foundation, have announced $1.4million worth of grants for arts workers currently experiencing hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The grant pool will be broken up into 1,400 bursaries of $1,000 and distributed based on need, experience, and talent. The applications will be assessed by past recipients of the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship.
“In coordinating our efforts, we hope to provide immediate relief for some artists and arts workers experiencing hardship. We recognise that our recovery from this emergency will be long and we will be there, with our community, for the duration of that journey,” the statement read.
“We know the need in the community exceeds our capacity, but we will do what we can to help those who need it most.”
Applications opened this morning and close midnight AEST on Sunday May 10. Applicants will be notified of the outcome the following week. More information can be found here.
As artists and representative bodies have noted, most of the more than 193,000 workers in the arts sector are ineligible to receive the JobKeeper wage subsidy. Before the JobKeeper legislation was passed, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance unsuccessfully lobbied the Federal Government to broaden the criteria as workers including some freelance musicians, casual bar staff and production crew were ineligible.
More than a quarter of workers in the arts and recreation sector have lost their jobs since mid-March due to the pandemic.
The Myer Foundation’s announcement follows similar cultural grant rounds established by the City of Melbourne and City of Sydney councils, in addition to the Tasmanian Government. Yesterday (May 6), the Victorian State Government said it would provide financial relief similar to JobKeeper to casual workers at public cultural organisations, provided they are willing to be redeployed to other areas of the public service.