Australia/ 8.1 Support to artists and other creative workers  

8.1.1 Overview of strategies, programmes and direct or indirect forms of support

In terms of support for individual artists in addition to strategies already discussed, such as the Resale Royalty Scheme, and support programs for Indigenous artists, the Australia Council and all state and territory agencies run grants programs for artists, usually on the basis of application and peer review. The most extensive programs are those offered by the Australia Council for the Arts but, because these are national schemes, they are also the most extensively subscribed, and success rates are often lower than 30 %.  Full details of the Australia Council’s funding programs may be found at http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/grants

The Commonwealth Government maintains information on grant schemes that are available through all levels of government for all sectors of the community.  The website Grantslink lists some 54 grants under ‘Culture and Heritage’, ranging from Australia Council and state government grant schemes, to international touring funding councils. The full list may be seen at http://www.grantslink.gov.au/

The funding of the major performing arts companies is also seen as a mechanism to provide employment for artists in the performing arts sector.  A range of other bodies, including business or local government, also provide ad hoc grants for artists, often associated with commissions for public art. 

In keeping with a 2007 election policy commitment to assist young artists, the Labor government, through the Australia Council initiated a new scheme known as ArtStart.  under which small grants are provided to recent arts training graduates as a contribution towards the costs of establishing themselves as professional artists.  The scheme is intended to assist young artists to move more quickly to gaining employment or earning income from their practice. 

There has long been concern in arts and education circles that Australia’s education and training institutions graduate a lot of young artists who then struggle to establish a practice and make a living in the relatively small marketplaces in which they live.  While on its own this scheme cannot address the problem it can, with complementary strategies to build demand for the work of artists, begin to make a difference.


Chapter published: 27-12-2013


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