COVID-19 and Creative Partnerships

Creative Partnerships’ ongoing support for a vibrant cultural sector

COVID-19 and Creative Partnerships

Australia’s cultural and creative sectors have been greatly affected as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has forced closures, cancellations and disappointments to our major arts organisations, small to medium organisations, festivals and artists. In times of crisis, artists are often among those most affected with hundreds of thousands of arts workers across the country facing significant negative impacts on their livelihoods.

During 2020 Creative Partnerships was pleased to partner with Theatre Network Australia and the National Association for the Visual Arts to provide critical support to artists directly affected by loss of income. Through this initiative, over $190,000 in matched funding was provided by Creative Partnerships to match donations from the private sector.

We also partnered with the Sidney Myer Fund and Philanthropy Australia’s Arts Funders Network to support the distribution of over $1.5 million for the National Assistance Program for the Arts, which provided grants of $1,000 to more than 1,500 artists experiencing hardship due to the impact of COVID-19.

The road to recovery continues and Creative Partnerships dedicates our experience, resources, programs and networks to help rebuild a robust and vital cultural sector.

Each state and territory of Australia is subject to different restrictions (and snap lockdowns) with artists and arts organisations once again able to present before audiences. Pattern Makers offers some great insights into audience behaviour and intention in returning to the arts through their Audience Outlook Monitor.

The Australian Cultural Fund is experiencing a resurgence of artists campaigns as visions, concepts and ideas are unpacked and plans made for bringing this art to fruition.

Join our newsletter and follow us on social media to keep up to date with the initiatives and sustainable support Creative Partnerships brings to the arts and cultural sector.

Image: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Spanish Harlem at Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Photographed by Mark Gambino

If you have further questions regarding COVID-19, please utilise these websites.

Event cancellations and postponements across Australia are having unparalleled impacts on the creative industries. If you or your organisation are experiencing lost of income due to the covid-19 crisis you can list your event to assist in gathering data to help calculate the impact this will have on our industry.

PAC Australia: COVID-19 impact survey For venues impacted by cancellation of events.

Impact of COVID-19 on writing practice For writers and others in the literature sector who have experienced cancellation of events and subsequent loss of income.

Diversity Australia For culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) creatives affected by cancellations and postponements in the creative industries.

I Lost My Gig Australia For performers, production, crew and others who have lost work through the cancellation of concerts, conferences, events or festivals. 

Rebooting after the COVID-19 Shutdown

Australia Council for the Arts: Re-activate Providing information on how to confidently comply with government guidelines to recommence practice and open doors to welcome audiences, visitors and customers.

Keeping Updated

Australia Council for the Arts Providing important information and advice about how COVID-19 is impacting on arts practitioners.

Create NSW Providing up to date information to support creatives living and working in NSW.

Accessible Arts The peak arts and disability organisation across NSW making art accessible to all.

ArtsHub Australia’s leading independent online resource dedicated to the world of the arts.

NAVA Leading advocacy, policy and action for a contemporary Australian arts sector.

Live Performance Australia  The peak body for Australia’s live performance industry.

Support Services

Sharpe Advisory Providing a guide to Government COVID-19 assistance for the Arts.

JobKeeper Enrol for the JobKeeper payment and read this useful information from the ATO.

Federal Government and Centrelink Measures announced under the government’s $66 billion COVID-19 package to support workers and organisations in the cultural and creative sector.

Victorian Government Announced $500 million to establish a Business Support Fund to assist small to medium businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

ATO Offering boosted cash flow to small-medium businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million as well as offering a range of payment relief measures.

Australian Psychological Society are offering tips for helping with coronavirus anxiety and dealing with social isolation.

The Arts Wellbeing Collective Promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in the performing arts industry

Lifeline Provides all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14 or text the helpline on 0477 131 114.

Beyond Blue Provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.

Fundraising, Sponsorship and State Government Grants


While it is not possible at this time to quantify the extent to which private sector support will be impacted, Creative Partnerships Australia offers the following suggestions to ensure you can effectively move your fundraising forward during this difficult period.

Be proactive. Stay in touch with key donors and prospective donors – now is a time to reach out, not to retreat.

Be tech savvy. Use tools that allow video conferencing and other means to substitute for in-person discussions until social distancing is lifted.

Be alert. Understand that some individuals are being impacted significantly by current conditions – adjust conversations and requests accordingly.

Be flexible. For some individuals, long-term commitments will be unrealistic but one-off gifts will be possible – for others, there will be little or no change in how they consider donating.

Be resolute. Time may become more of a variable in achieving gift objectives or campaign goals – simply reducing expectations or goals rarely benefits those who care deeply about advancing the institution so evaluate what works best for your fundraising campaign.

Be patient. Most philanthropic giving has a longer life span than the ups and downs of most economic cycles and the era of a pandemic.

Be empathetic. Many prospects are uncertain and have seen their resources be depleted. They’ll appreciate this and come back even stronger.


Sponsorship agreements may feel uncertain during the current climate but sponsors who stick by their partners through the coronavirus crisis will reap exposure benefits when organisations reopen their doors. Some organisations have already confirmed they will be supporting their partners by automatically extending any sponsorships set to expire this year for another 12 months to provide certainty to partners and the many causes they support. Get in touch with your sponsors, big or small to spark up the conversation to see what’s possible for your organisation.

State Government Grants

ArtsACT Funding of up to $10,000 per artist will be available for Canberra artists to support arts development and the sustainability of their arts practices over the next 6-9 months.

CreateNSW Have repurposed their Small Project Grants Program  in response to support artist in the current climate.

South Australian Government announced $1.5 million in assistance for arts sector with grants available to independent artists (applications close 31 March) and arts organisations (close 14 April).

Northern Territory Government have redirected a $2 million funding package towards a Creative Industries Sector Immediate Response and Resilience Program to provide practical support to the arts and screen sectors. Grant dates to be announced shortly.

Professional Development Opportunities

Australia Council for the Arts Have announced Creative Connections, an online learning series for the arts and creative sector.

ACMI Running Free Skills ACMI are partnering with Media Mentors to create twice-weekly micro-skills workshops for screen professionals and enthusiasts.

Sundance Collab Their online Masterclasses will let you delve into craft-based topics with top-level practitioners from the Sundance Co//ab network who are working in that field.

Screen Australia Learn new skills through the Screen News podcast. Play in your web browser or subscribe via iTunesSpotifyStitcher or Pocket Casts.

Australian Film, Television and Radio School Master the basics of radio broadcasting through this online introductory course that is suitable for complete beginners and community radio practitioners.

Many artists and organisations, venues, galleries and communities are being impacted by COVID-19 in the short term and are expecting longer term effects. Creative Partnerships Australia have been overwhelmed with the great acts of kindness and solidarity in our sector, including many creative responses to make people feel included at a time of social distancing. During these times of uncertainty, the arts and philanthropic communities continue to come together and be extraordinary. You can show your support for the Australian arts sector and those who depend on the creative industry for their livelihood by donating.

Australian Cultural Fund A fundraising platform for Australian artists that is managed by Creative Partnerships Australia. Donations over $2 are tax deductible, and supporters can make a real difference to the work of Australian artists.

Support Act Help artists and music workers in crisis. This may be due to illness, injury, a mental health problem or some other crisis that impacts on their ability to work in music.

Adopt an Artist Connects the financially stable with artists who are financially impaired or homeless as a result of COVID-19.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival Support those impacted by the cancellation of Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2020.

Other ways you can support the Arts and Cultural sector

Subscription ticketed arts companies have cancelled performances and will feel the affects of the show being on hold for now. Here are some ways you can make a difference with your ticket or subscription:

  1. Please donate your cancelled ticket. You will receive a tax-deductible receipt for the value of the ticket OR
  2. Ask for a non-cash credit. You can use the credit against a future performance with the company OR
  3. Exchange your cancelled ticket for another performance. You can exchange into another performance OR
  4.  A refund if you are unable to donate or exchange your tickets due to financial consideration.

Spend your armchair travel dollars! Had you been planning an adventure in the Northern Territory, or a winter break in Tasmania that’s now on hold? Spend some time researching artists and arts organisations based in that location and send a donation their way or purchase items online from their gift shops or social enterprises if they have them.

What member-based arts and culture organisations can you support? Maintaining and growing memberships can be a lifeline for organisations. Now’s the time to become members of those organisations, big or small that you’ve always been meaning to join.

Birthday gifts you need to buy friends and families. Craft organisations across Australia have online stores filled to the brim with unique Australian made wares for you to enjoy. And we all need things to look forward to so look into buying loved ones cultural experience gift cards or tickets to future events from their favourite organisations.

Already missing your arts and culture fix? Now’s the time to subscribe to arts publications. Digital subscriptions to Artlink, are now available via the App Store for your iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch and on Google Play for Android phones and tablets. Full digital editions are also available on your PC at Pocket Mags. These are another great gift idea.

You can never have too many books. Support our local authors and publishing industry by purchasing online – and there are beautiful options available in online museum and gallery shops throughout Australia. You could even start an online book group to stay connected with fellow readers.

The arts provide us with inspiration, growth, connection and our sense of place in the world. During times of social distancing it’s important to stay connected to those around you as well as the artists and arts organisations who provide enjoyment and fulfilment in your life.

We hope these resources will help you feel connected with your cultural community. These will be updated over the coming weeks so please check back for new sources of entertainment and enjoyment.

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