It is certainly challenging times right now. The arts sector has taken a huge hit. Independent artists, industry contractors and casuals were the first to face the economic turmoil of COVID-19. Whilst the government puts in place waves of stimulus packages and support, it has been so heartening to see the way our sector has come together and taken on the challenge of continuing their practice whilst offering opportunities for the community to benefit from participating in the arts.
WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING?
The Queensland Government has injected more dollars into Arts Queensland funding programs to assist in rethinking, digital creation or post-COVID come back. Find out more here https://www.arts.qld.gov.au/news/arts-queensland-assistance-for-arts-sector-through-covid-19-crisis
Australia Council for the Arts has suspended its current funding programs and will be launching their range of arts sector stimulus measures over the next two weeks. Keep in touch with these changes here https://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/funding/
SOME GREAT EXAMPLES OF SECTOR INITIATIVES
Feral Arts through Arts Front are hosting Little Lunch Online - a great way for the sector to keep up to date with the constantly changing environment we find ourselves in and to connect with fellow artists and industry leaders. If you miss the live lunch, you can always playback the session on YouTube.
There are many fantastic industry leaders offering mentorship to their sector including the wonderful Margi Brown Ash and Queensland Music Festival. Great conversations to help you adapt to the current circumstances.
I am thoroughly enjoying seeing how artists adapt their business models. I recently signed up and participated in the Coach Choir facilitated by Pub Choir. Over 1000 people from 18 countries recorded their parts and sent it in to be edited together. Fantastic media coverage and a very uplifting experience. I've also signed up to Emma Dean's Computer Choir that kicks off this coming week. I love this model as she is still able to sustain a fee for service as the choir leader of Cheep Thrill through this project and extend her customer base. I for one am more than happy to pay for an experience that supports an artist.
I am sure you have seen so many amazing initiatives like this popping up (share them in the comments if you have). Hopefully the online platforms we are all using can stand up to our creative uses of them.
CQ SHOPFRONT GOES ONLINE
I too have had to adapt what I am doing as a project manager and workshop facilitator. The CQ Shopfront project is funded to support visual artists and makers in Central Queensland to develop sustainable business models and commercially viable products. It is funded through multiple sources and has the support of numerous partners. So I am wading through and working on solutions for how to take the project forward. The CQ Shopfront Flying Arts Business for Creative workshop took place in Bundaberg last month and was scheduled for Mackay next weekend and Rockhampton two weeks later. Unfortunately the final two face to face workshops had to be cancelled.
Co-factilitator and Flying Arts Tutor Katie Whyte and I have started plotting a series of online workshops to take even more participants through key areas such as product development, business planning and marketing. These will be going live within the next couple of weeks. In the meantime I have thrown out a challenge to the members of the CQ Shopfront Facebook Group to develop a 1 Minute Pitch about their practice, business and products. If you are based in Central Queensland and are interested in developing your visual arts practice or existing business as a maker or designer, you can request to join up to this group. You can also sign up to The Ideas Distillery email tree to be kept up to date on project developments.
IMAGE: CQ Shopfronts funders and partners
Use your time wisely over the coming weeks and months. Whilst staying safe, our families and friends, and keeping financially afloat are priorities for all of us, don't forget to use your creativity to take a break from the stress of what is going on in the world around us and focus on your mind health and future.