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 entered on the Register of Cultural Organisations (ROCO), 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.
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.
Decisions will be determined by a small panel appointed by NAVA and Art Month Sydney whose composition will be more than 50% artists.
The panel will convene to make funding decisions as they come in, so that applicants receive a response as quickly as possible. The Fund will aim to respond to applicants within two to three weeks of receiving an application.
The decision to award assistance is a matter for the absolute discretion of the panel. Their decisions will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. The panel will have the right to impose such terms as they consider appropriate.
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
The Fund is currently seeking donations from people who are passionate about making sure that Australia’s visual artists survive and thrive through disasters that can so tragically end careers. An announcement will be made as soon as possible on when the Fund will be open for applications.