FCAC Announces Extended Closure in Response to COVID-19
Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC) has made the decision to close to the public until 4 August 2020, prioritising the safety of artists, community and staff during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. The closure period will be re-evaluated to align with government advice.
FCAC have acted swiftly to develop a suite of online public programming that will be announced in the coming months. The centre’s flagship ArtLife program for artists with intellectual disability has already created a tailored online program, including the delivery of workshops and mentorship online, which can be accessed by artists using their National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) packages.
Amidst the uncertainty, the Australia Council for the Arts announced the outcome of its 4-year funding round last week, with FCAC successfully securing funds as one of 95 successful recipients nationally. This vital funding will underpin the delivery of ambitious programming that is driven by, and platforms, our communities of focus. While FCAC and other organisations based in Melbourne’s West – Western Edge Youth Arts (WEYA) and The Substation – are celebrating this news, FCAC stands in solidarity with our industry partners who were not successful. FCAC continues to advocate for increased funding for the arts at all levels of government.
Funding bodies are releasing urgently needed stimulus packages for artists to sustain their practices. The FCAC team is dedicated to providing support to artists and those applying for grants for the first time by opening their virtual doors to independent artists and arts organisations through tailored grant writing support sessions.
The ongoing effects of COVID-19 has disrupted traditional models of cultural presentation locally and globally, with arts organisations and artists forced to develop new ways to connect with audiences and communities.
Globally, interesting initiatives are being developed to combat lost revenue for artists and arts organisations due to closures. Prague has announced a digital campaign titled “festival of nothing” to help independent arts workers, as clubs, theatres, and galleries, shut their doors amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. For FCAC, the lockdown has enabled the organisation to refocus on complementing the venue’s previous in-centre program with digital output to engage and support artists, audiences and communities during physical distancing.
Robyn Gawenda, FCAC Executive Director and Co-CEO, said: “While FCAC are thrilled to have the support of Australia Council, we will continue to advocate to every level of government and the private sector about the importance of funding the arts to adequate levels – too many creatives are being left behind. As the world navigates the complex impacts of COVID-19, we will look to artists and arts organisations to imagine a future for us all – their work is essential – and they need to be supported to do it.”
Daniel Santangeli, FCAC Artistic Director and Co-CEO, said: “As a community-engaged arts centre, artists are at the forefront of what we do. Its been heartbreaking to speak with artists and partner organisations during this period as they cancel and postpone creative outcomes following months of preparation. We look forward to sharing our new digital programs to keep you creatively engaged while you’re at home.”
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1- Image by Jacinta Keefe. Opening Night at Due West Arts Festival 2019.