Artists’ Benevolent Fund

NAVA reinvigorated the Artists’ Benevolent Fund in 2020 to make funds available for disaster and emergency visual arts practice recovery.

A photo of a person sitting on a white plinth, elbow leaning on her knee, her legs are crossed. She is wearing a green top, black pants and white sneakers. She has brown hair and is smiling. Ink paintings on fabric are draped in the background.

Inbal Nissim, recipient of the Artists' Benevolent Fund. Photo by Ren Pidgeon, courtesy of Creative Spaces.

Funds are low – we need your help...

The Fund is possible only with the kindness of our supporters. Please consider helping artists in need with an urgent donation, however small – and please share it with your friends and colleagues far and wide.

Donate via PayPal

PayPal does not charge you for this donation. 100% of your donation will go to the Artists' Benevolent Fund.

Supporting visual artists through disasters

"Receiving support from the Artists' Benevolent Fund through NAVA was the affirmation I needed during the Melbourne lockdown to continue pursuing my dream project and I am very thankful for that." - Inbal Nissim

With your help, NAVA distributed $30,000 to artists affected by flooding in northern NSW in 2022; $78,000 to 39 artists seeking emergency relief in 2021; and $214,000 to 107 artists impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, bushfires, floods and ill health in 2020. 

The impacts of extreme weather conditions and the coronavirus crisis are far from over. In early 2021 NAVA undertook a snap survey of the visual arts and craft sector. Almost 60% of respondents said their main concerns included income security, followed by program cancellations, postponements, or downscaling (58.3%), and cuts to art education (44.22%). Many expressed sincere fears over the uncertainty of the future, financial stresses, major declines in mental health, restricted earning capacity and limited job prospects, organisational and sole trader economic survival, reduced ability to continue art practice due to income insecurity and no superannuation, the expenses and time consumption associated with digitisation and presenting art safely, while several feared poverty and homelessness.

The Fund operates exclusively on donations. Your support sustains the practices of Australian artists in times of need. Please donate by following the links below.

We are seeking donations from people who are passionate about making sure that Australia’s visual artists survive and thrive in their artistic practices, as they seek to deal with experiences beyond their control that can so tragically end careers.

Your donation to the Artists’ Benevolent Fund will go directly to artists in times of emergency.

The National Association for the Visual Arts is a Deductible Gift Recipient under Item 1 of the table in section 30-15 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. Donations of $2.00 or more are tax-deductible.

Donate via PayPal

PayPal does not charge you for this donation. 100% of your donation will go to the Artists' Benevolent Fund.


Major donors

Small stone sculpture of a jersey kerb

Alex Seton, Small Obstacle, 2020, Molong marble, 1/50 (to be personally engraved with the supporter's name). Photo by Maja Baska.

To build the Artists' Benevolent Fund, ClubB50 aims to raise $2.5m over a decade – that’s $250,000 per year going straight to visual artists. 

We need 50 donors to commit $5,000 per year for 10 years. That’s an incredibly impactful $50,000 donation that you’ll be making. 

And exclusively as part of ClubB50, you’ll receive a unique stunning artwork from Alex Seton, one of the artists who’s led the re-establishment of the fund.

All donations are tax deductible, so please give generously. Join ClubB50 and support our most visionary artists to create Australia’s future. 


The Artists’ Benevolent Fund hopes to provide modest but useful one-off financial artistic practice assistance to Australian visual artists in crisis as a result of fire, flood, storm, serious illness, major accident, declared state or national emergencies, or some other unexpected catastrophic experience.

It is not intended that the Fund should be used as a means of coping with current financial needs, to pay outstanding debts or to fund a project. Rather, the aim of the Fund is to support artists experiencing some form of crisis to continue to maintain their artistic practice, despite the debilitating experience that has befallen them.

The Fund might receive requests from:

  • Artists whose studios and/or entire bodies of work have recently been destroyed (e.g. as the result of fire, flood, storm, earthquake)
  • Artists who have recently suffered a major injury in their studio 
  • Artists suffering illnesses that impact on their ability to maintain their artistic practice 
  • Artists severely impacted in their practice by a recently declared state or national emergency.


Bert Flugelman (1923-2013) was an internationally renowned painter and sculptor whose works are in the public sculpture collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the City of Sydney and the City of Adelaide, among many other prominent institutions and locations. Twice during his artistic career, Bert suffered severe personal disasters which could have left him destitute, had it not been for the generosity of friends and colleagues in the art world. His appreciation of their support inspired him to see that other professional artists would also have access to financial assistance in times of dire need.

In 1967, in gratitude for the help he had twice received, Bert offered an Ian Fairweather painting from his collection to be sold and the proceeds used to establish a fund that could assist visual artists in extreme need. Artists Bert Flugelman and Guy Warren, stockbroker Michael Hobbs OAM (1934-2018), lawyer Shane Simpson AM, and accountant Tom Lowenstein OAM, were the Benevolent Fund Trustees, and the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) provided administration services for the Trust, from 1989 until it dissolved in 2014. 

In early 2020, following a devastating summer that touched so many, including the work and livelihoods of many artists, NAVA invited donations to reinstate the Artists’ Benevolent Fund, so that artists could be offered some assistance in times of emergency.

We re-established the fund at a time of very high demand given the COVID-19 impacts on the arts, and so we framed these guidelines with that urgency in mind. Our aim is to be able to assist as many artists as possible in a timely way with minimal burden to the artist and no onerous application demands.

Application Guidelines

What the Artists’ Benevolent Fund offers

The Artists’ Benevolent Fund will offer eligible artists a one-off payment of $2,000 to provide immediate assistance following a disaster or catastrophic event in their lives. Pending the capacity of the Fund, the panel may consider larger amounts as appropriate to the need of the beneficiary.

Given the Fund will need to be accessed at the most difficult of times, its application process presents the minimal burden to artists, asking for an outline of the specific disaster situation as well as some additional information to give the selection panel the full context. 

The Artists’ Benevolent Fund relies on donations to ensure that as many artists as possible can be assisted. Twenty years ago, $1,000 on average was granted by the Fund. Since that time, artists’ average incomes have not changed, however, the costs of carrying out a professional practice have increased significantly. The Fund has now set its average grant-making at $2,000. No budget or other financial documents will need to be provided as the Fund aims to assess grants with efficiency, thus the one-off payment of just the one amount. 


The applicant must be:

  • An Australian citizen or resident, and
  • A professional practitioner in the visual arts, regardless of career stage.

Assessment of whether you can be regarded as a practicing artist will be based on how well overall you meet NAVA’s criteria listed below. No single indicator is determinative. A practicing artist may:

  • seek to build a reputation as a professional artist
  • make attempts to bring their work to the public or relevant market
  • have regular public exhibitions of their artwork
  • offer work for sale, or sell artwork
  • have work acquired for public or private collections
  • secure work, commissions or consultancies on the basis of their professional expertise
  • secure residencies, teach, lecture or give public talks
  • be eligible to apply for or have been awarded government grants
  • secure awards or prizes
  • seek philanthropic patronage or sponsorship
  • carry out work in a business-like manner (e.g. keep financial records, have
  • formal written contracts or agreements, have a written business plan)
  • regularly participate in activities designed to promote their work including by establishing a website and carrying out other marketing activities
  • achieve industry or peer recognition through published works, critical texts or media profile
  • rent, lease or own space dedicated for an art purpose
  • be professionally qualified or have equivalent experience typical of others in the industry
  • be a member of a professional association or union (such as NAVA).

The Fund will prioritise applications from artists whose specific disaster situation is not covered by an insurance policy.

NAVA employees and board members are not eligible to apply.

NAVA is a Deductible Gift Recipient registered with the Australian Taxation Office and is subject to various obligations as a consequence of that registration. One such requirement is that any provision of financial support by NAVA to any artists must be consistent with or in furtherance of NAVA’s constitutional objects of promoting one or more specified cultural forms, and supporting artists to develop, grow and sustain their arts or cultural practice. Consistent with this object, the specific aim of the Artists' Benevolent Fund is to support artists who have experienced or are experiencing a crisis that significantly impacts on them in the pursuit of their artistic practice.

Application and assessment

Artists will be required to submit an application. This will be straightforward and non-burdensome, offering the information that’s needed for a granting decision to be made. The artist will be expected to describe how the funds are intended to be used to enable the artist to develop, grow and sustain their arts or cultural practice.

The Fund is designed to ensure that recipients of support will only use the funding provided in ways that enable them to develop, grow and/or sustain and maintain their artistic practice in the context of the catastrophic event that has occurred to them.

There will be basic requirements placed on the recipient as a condition of the award or grant. For example, the artist will be required to report on the use of the Funds received.

Opening the Fund to applications

Applications are now open and there is no deadline date for submissions. 

Please note, funds are limited and we continue to seek donations to ensure that as many artists as possible can be assisted.


NAVA gratefully thanks all donors for their generosity in supporting the Artists' Benevolent Fund.

City of Sydney
Adrienne Gaha and Tim Maguire
Alex Barthel
Alex Bond
Altenburg & Co
Amanda Jane Reynolds
Amy Boyd & Stephen Rebikoff
Anastasia La Fey
Andrew Rothery
Anita Larkin
Ann Mawhinney
Anna Caione
Anna Taylor
Anne Spudvilas
Annette Larkin
Annette Maguire
Armstrong Street
Arthur Carter
Arwen Dyer
Belinda Cotton
Beth Jackson
Dr Beth Z Charles
Beverly Allen
Birte Larsen
Books at Manic
Bowker family in memory of Monte Croke
Braddon Snape
Brett Kelly
Brigette Uren
Caine Chennatt
Cara Anderson
Carolyn Brooks
Carolyn Hanna
Cat Jones
and Cate Hull
Catherine Murphy
Cathy Shugg
Chelle Destefano
Chloè Wolifson
Christine Morton
Claire Anna Watson
Clare McCracken
Claudia Hogan
Courtney Pedersen
Dan Koop and Clair Korobacz
David Corbet
Deb Malor
Debbie Mackinnon and Fiona Verity
Dr Dick Quan
Dina Gerolymou
Diokno Pasilan
Drew Pettifer
Elizabeth Lee
Emily Marshall
Emily Wakeling
Emma Fielden
Felicity Chapman
Fenella Kernebone
Frank Schooneveldt
The Freedman Foundation
Gary Carsley
Gary Moore
Genevre Becker
Gerald Soworka
Gilbert Grace
Grayson Cooke
Greer Taylor
Halie Rubenis
Creative Partnerships Australia
Heather Dunn
Helen Frajman
Helen Mueller
Helena Demczuk
Ian Strang
Ilaria Vanni Accarigi
Ilona Nelson
Isabelle Devos
Jaco Roeloffs
James Drinkwater
Jane Giblin
Jane Grealy
Jane Kent
Jane Pochon
Janet De boer
Janet Holmes a Court
Senator Janet Rice
Jessica Dare
Joan Cameron-Smith
Joanna Kambourian
Jodie Whalen
Jodie Wilson
John and Jeanie Adams
John Randell
John Robinson
Joseph Eisenberg
Joshua Charadia
Judith Roga
Judith Rolevink
Julianne Schultz
Julie Ewington
Julie Lien
Julie Pheasant
Julie Stoneman
Justine Roche
Karen Beilharz
Karin Findeis
Kat Holmes
Kate Allman
Kate Campbell-Pope
Kate Parker
Kath Fries
Kathleen Melbourne
Kathy Glass
Katrina Dunn-Jones
Kay Flugelman
Kim Bridgland
Kim Mahood
Kinly Grey
Kylie Gusset
Larry Parkinson
Leah King-Smith
Lee Bethel
Lia McKnight
Lindsay Clement-Meehan
Llewellyn Quabba
Lucy Parkinson
Lyn Fabian
Lyn Williams
Lynn Buchanan
Mahmood Martin Foundation
Marcus Liddle
Government of South Australia
Marilyn Raw
Mark Titmarsh
Martyn Jolly
Matt & Michelle Gray, in memory of Monte Croke
Maudie Palmer AO
Megan Cope
Megan Seres
Megan Walch
Melinda Rackham
Meredith Hinchcliffe
Merle Hathaway
Merran Morrison
Metro Arts
Michaela Boland
Michelle Cawthorn
Mimi Crowe
In memory of Monte Croke
Naomi Grant
Narelle Vogel
Neng Yu Wu
Niomi Sands
Noel Turner
Patrice Sharkey
Patrick Corrigan AM
Peter Nolan
Philip Noakes
Queenscliff Gallery & Workshop
Raquel Jones
Ray Harris
Raymond Arnold
Rebecca Townsend
Rodney Scherer
Rosie Asplet
Ruth Halbert
Ruth Zanker
Ryan Johnston
Salesian College Sunbury in memory of Monte Croke
Sam Varian
Sanne Mestrom
Sarah Crowest
Sarah Miller
Sarah Moore
Sarah Rodigari
Sascha Gianella
Sharne Wolff
Sharon Donaldson
Sheona White
Simon Whibley
Sonia Johnson
Steve Baird
Sue Griffin
Sue Mears
Susan Lostroh
Susanna Mills
Tamara Heaney
Tanya Maxwell
Tara Morelos
Tayla Haggarty
Professor Terry Smith
Tom Muller
Tomislav Nikolic
Tony Albert
Tony Grierson
Tracy Pateman
Trinity Morris
Trypheyna McShane
Ursula Frederick
Vasiliki Nihas
Vicki McConville
Victoria Taylor
Vipoo Srivilasa
Wendy Mather
Wendy M McHugh
William Crellin
William Eicholtz