Australia Council has announced plans to assist artists, arts practitioners, arts groups and arts organisations who are struggling due to the COVID-19 crisis.

In recent weeks, events across the country have been cancelled due to the outbreak, with venues forced to close as restrictions tighten in an effort to flatten the curve.

“We must do all we can to support the arts community, for whom the impact of COVID-19 is catastrophic,” Australia Council Chief Executive Adrian Collette said.

“Venues have shut their doors with little or no notice, organisations have been forced to cancel their programs and activities, and hundreds of thousands of arts workers have had significant negative impacts to their immediate and future livelihoods.

“The impact is not just on our cultural and creative sectors. The flow on effect is immense for the broader community and economy, not least the many thousands more employed in related industries driven so strongly by the arts and creative industries, such as tourism, hospitality, regional and community businesses.

“And importantly, the rapid disappearance of Australian creative work from our lives will have a major social and cultural impact on the Australian public in both the short and long term. We acknowledge the hardship and isolation felt by artists and practitioners at this time, and the impact that temporary closure of many arts organisations is having on our collective wellbeing.

“We have freed up funds – as much as we are able – to immediately respond to the critical situation faced by Australian arts and culture. We are introducing new support and sector development programs.

“We are establishing virtual gathering opportunities and important conduits for sector feedback as we work together and codesign solutions to the host of new challenges we face. We are also working closely with the Office for the Arts and our Minister to provide advice and information to assist the Government’s response to this urgent crisis.

“In these stressful times, our arts sector continues to be extraordinary. It has been enormously important to hear from so many of you and witness great acts of organising and solidarity, including many creative responses to make people feel included at a time of social distancing, and rapid pivots to new platforms to release work.”

For more details, head to the Australia Council website.

For more information about how COVID-19 is impacting the music industry, follow the link here.