Arts groups get $170m govt funding, but some miss out

Arts and culture organisations will share nearly $170 million in funding over four years from the federal government funding body Creative Australia.

The money will go to 159 groups from 2025-2028, an increase of 45 compared to the previous funding round.

But Brisbane's Metro Arts, which supports independent artists, and backed the early careers of notable figures such as Wesley Enoch and Vernon Ah Kee, is among those that have missed out.

Genevieve Trace, Executive Director, Metro Arts
Metro Arts supported more than 400 artists and developed 32 new Australian works this year.

It means significant cuts will have to be made, according to Metro Arts executive director Genevieve Trace.

"Creative Australia’s decision is a significant blow, not only to us, but to the many artists and fine companies nationwide who share our dedication in building a strong and sustainable arts sector,” she said.

Metro Arts supported more than 400 artists and developed 32 new Australian works, with 32,000 people visiting its gallery and theatre this year.

But the funding announcement will mean more cash for regional arts groups as well as First Nations, youth and disability led groups, according to Creative Australia.

The Australasian Dance Collective and Indigenous community development organisation Inala Wangara are among those to win funding in Queensland.

In South Australia, money will go to Tutti Arts, an organisation for disabled and neurodiverse artists, and in NSW, regional organisation Cementa and theatre company Contemporary Asian Australian Performance.

"This investment will enable more organisations to plan with longer-term certainty, to realise their artistic programs and present Australian works that delight and challenge audiences and communities at home and internationally," Creative Australia chief executive Adrian Collette said.

Creative Australia, formerly known as the Australia Council, reserves large amounts of money for major organisations such as Opera Australia and the Australian Ballet.

It has been criticised for cutting funding to smaller and medium-sized arts organisations during the pandemic, and it's not yet clear whether the announcement of $42.4 million to be spent annually will repair some of the cuts made in 2020.

The money has been allocated through a four-year funding stream for small-to-medium organisations and a visual arts, craft and design stream, in which funding is matched by the states.

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