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  • 22.10.20

We’ve given over $305,000 in financial support to artists this year

This November, we are going up against all odds to present a boundary pushing program of experimental and digital art, including the first in-person events in Melbourne post-COVID lockdown. We are proud to support creatives and artists who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 to create and produce work at the 2020 Festival.

So far this year we have created opportunities for 132 artists by awarding a record-breaking $305,915 – more than double the dollar value awarded last year. This has covered everything from microgrants for registration fees to commissions of $15,000+ with further grants still in the pipeline.

“The financial impact on Melbourne’s artists has been enormous, and we’ve worked around the clock to raise the funds to support artists to do what they do best – make work”, says our Creative Director Simon Abrahams. “Equity in the arts is at the very core of Melbourne Fringe, and we remain committed to ensuring a level playing field and equal opportunities for all who want to participate.”

Our amazing community of donors and partners gave generously to ensure that artists with big ideas could present work at the 2020 Festival. The 2020 grant program has led to a significant increase in participation from artists in marginalised groups including First Nations, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, Deaf or Disabled and LGBTQIA+. Grants include:

  • Jewel Box grants supporting artists of colour by providing registration fees and marketing support
  • Cash for Creatives grants providing artists with registration fees and artist fees to renumerate them for their work, including those funded by the Broadtree Foundation to support LGBTQIA+ artists at the Festival
  • The largest-ever pool of Ralph Mclean microgrants, awarded to artists facing structural disadvantage.

132 artists have received grants and commissions so far, including; choreographer and director Stephanie Lake and composer Robin Fox, LGBTQIA+ artist, writer and director Jean Tong, Drag Queen Karen from Finance (Richard Chadwick), actor and theatre-maker Kasey Gambling, writer James Jackson, and First Nations visual artists Rosie Kilvert and Madison Connors, who will present digital works as part of the Deadly Fringe program.

Grant and commissions were not limited to artists presenting in the 2020 festival dates. Keeping art alive during lockdown, comedian Zoë Coombs Marr and award-winning artist Selina Jenkins received funds to create and present work  throughout the year.

In addition to grants, the Festival’s ticketing system provides a way for artists to secure further funds direct from audiences. We will operate on a combined model of traditional pre-paid fixed price, and ‘Choose Your Price’ – where artists can nominate their preferred price point, and audiences pay what they feel. We tested this model July for VCR Fest, where 70% of paying audience members choose a price point equal to or more than the suggested amount.

We officially launch with an online celebration on Thursday 22 October. See you there.

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