Arts Grants Fiasco

Actually there was no fiasco. Our usual, sober, headline writer is on vacation and her replacement has advised us our headlines lack ‘juice’. But now that you’re here, it is with all the joy of a hungry person watching a feast to which they weren’t invited that I observe the announcement of the 2009 ArtsACT funding round. Once again our glorious government has doled out around a million bucks to around 70 out of more than 180 applicants (I was not one of them).

Grants for music related projects, totalling roughly $230,000 split 19 ways, took the lion’s share, with an approximate 60/40 split between traditional and contemporary music. Visual arts grants (16) totaled $172,000, literature (17) received $131,700, film projects (9) $120,000, theatre (7) took $114,000, dance (3) got $101,000, multimedia (3) $54,000 and craft (2) a measly $29,000.

Notable grants include: the largest individual grant, $50,000, to Prophecy Games to develop a video game, Mirramu Dance Company’s seemingly annual patronage ($47,700), $36,962 to Shortis and Simpson who are also masters in the art of arts grant applications, Padma Menon’s $36,346 for cross cultural dance, $26,250 to Fiona Fraser for a chamber opera and Anthony Hill’s $25,000 to develop adult literary non-fiction.

Youth specific projects (3), including $17,464 for the Canberra Gay and Lesbian Qwire to collaborate with same-sex attracted youth, received $29,000 and one project specifically aimed at people with disabilities, to People with Disabilities, received $8,620.

In the local contemporary music scene, the big news is Resonate’s successful bid for $19,600 to run Corinbank in 2009. Other winners, largely with help to produce a CD, include Pete and Fiete ($9,880, which is a lot of beer), Friendly Yen (a straight $10 grand), Gryffin Ensemble ($11,804), Julia and The Deep Sea Sirens ($6,500) and Matty Ellis ($7,700).

Congrats to all the winners, commiserations and better luck next year to all the losers. And remember, arts grants are evil.

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