Intro to Arts Revenue – #CWTCC Insights
Coffee with the Creative Community has provided us the enlightening opportunity to meet with some phenomenal arts workers – all at various points in their careers and dispersed throughout Queensland and Australia. It has been fantastic to discuss their journeys and provide some insight to help them navigate the ever-complicated evolving arts landscape.
Though these chats have varied greatly, fundraising has emerged as a common theme of interest. We’ve met emerging artists with exciting projects seeking guidance on writing standout grant applications; local arts groups looking to diversify revenue through partnerships; as well as professionals beyond the sector eager to learn more about the mystifying world of arts and events fundraising.
Below are some key resources and pieces of advice that we’ve shared throughout these chats that may be helpful if you’re facing similar challenges in this space. Check out our tips below and click here if you’d like to chat further over coffee.
Given that current circumstances have severely restricted the sector’s access to revenue, grants are especially essential at the moment. For some, grant applications may be uncharted territory and the general strains of pandemic life would no doubt make this
already laborious process more daunting.
It is particularly important – in this time of restricted interaction and digital communication, that prospective applicants express articulate themselves clearly and persuasively. To cut through the noise, your application must not only garner interest in the creative idea, but also clarify how the concept will be executed, and communicate the underlying purpose or value.
The Grants Hub is a fantastic site for newcomers and seasoned applicants, featuring an immense catalogue of resources with advice to guide you every step of the process – from finding grants and understanding terminology, to finetuning budgets and even what to do if you’re unsuccessful.
Just as important as the construction and quality of your application, you must be able to effectively communicate the intrinsic value of your project. ‘Making the sale,’ so to speak, is a key roadblock faced by grant applicants – especially when communicating with stakeholders beyond the arts sector. Luckily, Arts Queensland is here to help with some brilliant resources to get you thinking about arts advocacy, and how to articulate your project’s social, economic, communal and other general benefits.
Below are some key revenue opportunities currently open for application:
Australia Council for the Arts 2020 Resilience Fund (applications close 28 May)
Adapting Creative Practice
Pursuing a career in the arts can be difficult at the best of times, and the last few months have illustrated the full scope of the sector’s volatility. Given that artists’ traditional means of profiting from their work are hindered, adapting and diversifying your practice – and income streams – is more crucial than ever.
The Australia Council for the Arts Creative Connections webinar series poses invaluable benefits to artists looking to adapt in this time of sectoral uncertainty. With over 30 free webinars to choose from, discussing a variety of topics related to leadership, digital and arts practice adaptation, artsworkers can focus their learning around specific areas of practice.
For further practice adaptation insights, check out the QMusic Connect – Online Music Business Program – a series of phenomenal industry-led workshops aimed at supporting the community and discussing COVID-, region-, and industry-specific topics relevant to everyone throughout the local music industry.
Business partnerships may pose valuable opportunities for community arts organisations, and we’ve spoken to a number of groups interested in learning how to approach developing these connections, particularly in the current landscape.
Though current economic impacts may limit the extent to which businesses may be able to provide prompt support, the fostering of meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships requires considerable planning, for which there is no time like the present!
If you’re not sure where to start, consider these initial questions:
What local businesses align with your organisation and your work?
What are all the components of your partnership offering (e.g. brand exposure, marketing, membership, show tickets, etc), and what is the value of each component?
What specific support/additional value do you require to achieve your objectives?
Once you have an extensive understanding of these questions, you should compile examples of these offerings in a formal proposal and start discussions with businesses in your community. Though ideal local partners may not have current capacity, it’s great to stay in touch as a means to facilitate future value-adding.
This may be a tricky space to navigate, but there should be no fear in asking if you can show value to prospective partners, and the benefits of finding these ideal partnerships far outweigh not trying at all.
Access to revenue for the arts has always been a major hurdle for artists and artsworkers looking to make a living. Though while the last few months have been an unprecedentedly difficult time, it has been profoundly encouraging seeing such resilience, creativity and optimism from the artsworkers we’ve had the pleasure to connect with. We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we hope this advice provides some guidance demystifying the world of arts revenue, and encourages you to get out there and pursue your creative endeavours.
Want to chat further? Let’s have coffee.