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June 3, 2020

The Helpmann Academy is offering $200,000 in grants to help artists during COVID-19

South Australian artists at any stage of their career can apply now.

  • Words: Angela Skujins
  • Main image: TOLF (video still) by Joseph Haxan


The Helpmann Academy Creative Stimulus Grants Scheme will distribute a total of $200,000 among artists at any stage of their career.

The organisation is accepting applications from Monday, 1 June to Monday, 15 June, and the scheme is divided into four parts.

It starts off with the $1,000 Creative Relief Fund, which offers quick assistance for an artist’s essential services, as well as other development opportunities.


Applications are now open for the Helpmann Academy Creative Stimulus Grants Scheme until Monday, 15 June.

Click here for details.

The second stage is the $3,000 Creative Development Fund, which financially backs new projects, and the research and idea development of old work.

The third stage is the $10,000 “cash or in-kind” Creative Incubator Fund. This program matches emerging creative entrepreneurs and collectives with industry leaders to develop innovative art businesses.

The fourth stage is the $10,000 Creative Investment Fund, which pays for artists or collectives to participate in professional and career-defining opportunities.

Emerging artist Steven Bellosguardo applied for Arts SA’s quick response grant last month but was unsuccessful. He’s hoping to be awarded through Helpmann’s $1,000 Creative Relief Fund. This image: Brianna Speight

Helpmann Academy CEO Jane MacFarlane says the first few years of being a professional artist are some of the hardest. Throw the pandemic into the mix and you’ve got recently graduated creatives feeling “devalued”, “rudderless”, and financially strained, she says.

“This program will not only provide fundamental financial support but also the encouragement they need to keep moving forward with their practice,” Jane says.

“One of the best ways we can lend our care and support to these artists is to provide opportunities to enable them to keep creating.”

The Helpmann Academy aims to bolster South Australia’s promising emerging creatives – whether they’re tertiary students or graduates – through grant schemes, awards, mentorships and other programs. This pool of money was supported by Arts South Australia and the academy’s philanthropic partners and donors.

Sculptor Steven Bellosguardo says emerging artists are particularly vulnerable right now because it’s in their early years they establish good studio practice, “which is difficult at the best of times.”

“COVID-19 has meant less opportunity, less funding, and an unstable future,” he says.

“We risk a substantial future cultural loss if we cannot support early-career artists during this time of hardship, they must make it out the other side.”

Helpmann Academy also launched a COVID-19-inspired film festival this year, the Home Along Film Festival, and is screening 17 shortlisted films via its Facebook page at 7pm on Wednesday, 3 June. The festival’s winning entrant will be awarded $7,000.

Viewers are encouraged to tune in and also vote for their favourite film. The People’s Choice winner will be awarded $3,000.

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