THE Australia Council for the Arts’ recent $5.7 million investment in 177 projects – spread among individual artists, groups and small to medium arts organisations – has been the catalyst for “an impressive level of diversity, innovation and collaboration” according to the council’s chief executive, Tony Grybowski.
Mr Grybowski said through the council’s June grants round – along with $640,000 through the annual Australia Council Fellowships program, $343,772 through Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS) individual grants, and $929,928 through Playing Australia national regional touring grants – many landmark projects were developed.
Mr Grybowski said while the latest grants round had been highly competitive.
“Almost 1,200 applications were received for the June round from small to medium arts organisations, and individuals and groups,” he said. “Consistently strong and highly contested, 177 projects will be funded through the fourth round of the revised grants model.
“I continue to be inspired by the diversity and depth of artistic quality and cultural ambition across the applications which reflects the strength and vibrancy of the arts across all of Australia”, said Mr Grybowski.
“Of successful applicants to arts projects, 30 percent nominated audience engagement and access to and participation in the arts as their key project outcomes. The Australia Council is committed to supporting opportunities for Australians to access and participate in the arts as consumers or creators.
“Positive trends continue with the increased number of new applicants to the Australia Council grants model, and of those, an increased number of new successful applicants.
“The new grants model was designed to be more accessible and flexible in response to feedback from the sector. These results continue to build on previous grant rounds,” Mr Grybowski said.
Eight of Australia’s most accomplished artists working across diverse art forms have been recognised with prestigious Australia Council Fellowships: Lisa Maza (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts); Rebecca Reid (community arts and cultural development); Brooke Stamp (dance); Sarah Jane Pell (emerging and experimental arts); Julia Leigh (literature); Sandy Evans (music); Katerina Kokkinos-Kennedy (theatre); and Danie Mellor (visual arts).
Some of the successful new applicants in the round included Natasha Phillips through Community Arts and Cultural Development for her China AUS Arts project, aimed at strengthening cultural literacy and investigating creative exchanges between Australia and China within the independent contemporary arts.
Earlier this year, the ARIA Award winning band The Jezabels released their third studio album, Synthia, to excellent reviews and a number four spot on the Australian chart. The band has received funding to support their North American tour later this year, further building the momentum of exceptional international success currently enjoyed by a high number of Australian contemporary music artists.
In the Emerging and Experimental Arts space, Tammy Brennan, Josh Harle and PACT Centre for Emerging Artists will all receive funding across a variety of projects that use cross-disciplinary processes and forms. \
New Landscapes Institute will receive $50,000 for The Long Paddock, an expanded public program and design and construction of ‘The Plant’. This is an experimental and multi-disciplinary project exploring Australia's Travelling Stock Routes. The 12 artists, architects and designers involved have developed work which explore the historical, environmental and cultural significance of these pathways.
Express Media has been funded to deliver a national program to support young writers. Tracks: a pop-up program for young writers, will bring the best of Express Media’s workshops, networking opportunities and showcase events to five locations across Australia.
Slingsby Theatre Company, Arena Theatre Company, Brink Productions and Gravity and Other Myths will each receive funding across a variety of projects that engage young people, create theatrical installations and develop future touring opportunities.
The Australia Council’s grant model enables applicants to select the practice area panel of expert peers they would like to assess their application. Panel options included: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts; Community Arts and Cultural Development; Dance; Emerging and Experimental Arts; Literature; Multi-art form; Music; Theatre; Visual Arts; and Artists with Disabilities.