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Big dollars for projects that promise big connection

Gina Fairley

City of Sydney has launched a suite of grants that are all about connecting with its community – and they are willing to pay big dollars for that connection
Big dollars for projects that promise big connection

Destructive Steps, an annual street dance competition based in Sydney. Image credit City of Sydney.

How we live in and engage with our cities has changed dramatically in the last 10 to 20 years. The City of Sydney has been particularly progressive in this area. It recently launched a suite of grants, open to individual artists and organisations, for projects which encourage a broader understanding of how a city might engage its community through cultural activities. 

Marni Jackson, City of Sydney’s Cultural Projects Manager, told ArtsHub: ‘We want to look at cultural activity as an active and accessible way that people can build the city.’ 

A creative city is not one just defined by pockets of time when the big festivals take place. Jackson believes a city’s liveliness is a year round commitment.

To stimulate that momentum, the City of Sydney has recently opened its first grant round for 2018/19, with a deadline of 12 March. 

Jackson explained: ‘There are lots of opportunities for audiences – they might be people who live in the city or people who work in the city and visit the city. We are looking for innovative ways of relating to those audiences.’

Find the right grant for you

The City of Sydney’s 2018/19 Round 1 includes a suite of grant categories to fund projects that have a strong connection to the City of Sydney local government area. Individuals and organisations alike can apply.

Jackson said: ‘Applicants need to understand that it’s the City’s cultural policy that is informing the things we are asking for in these grants – it has come out of what the community has said they want from their city.’

A range of funding programs are available:

Cultural and Creative Grants and Sponsorship

In 2018, there will only be one round of Cultural and Creative Grants and Sponsorship offered, so it’s important to get in early. These grants, ranging from $5,000 up to $50,000, are for projects presented between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019. These grants are for not-for-profits, for profits, individuals/sole traders (auspicing required) and unincorporated community groups (auspicing required). Multi-year funding is available.

Festivals and Events (Artform)

The City of Sydney is also offering funding to artform-focused festivals and events which provide important contexts for artists’ works, showcase artform innovation, and help build connections between artists and audiences. Festival and Events Sponsorship is available for not-for-profits, for-profits, individuals/sole traders  (auspice required) and unincorporated community groups (auspice required), and funding requirements are negotiated upon case-by-case consultation. Multi-year funding is available.

Matching Grants

The City’s Matching Grant Program is currently open and offers matched funds up to $10,000. The program works with community groups that partner with the City to support events, services and projects in their local neighbourhoods.

It is also open to for-profits who can demonstrate that the project will activate their local precinct (laneways and previously unused spaces) and which partner with one or more local business or community groups to deliver the project.

Business Support Grants

The City of Sydney recognises that cultural activity is not exclusive to artists, but is also about partnerships. Two grants categories are currently open under its Business Support Grants program:

  • Night-time diversification – a matched grant up to $30,000 for one or two years for programming at night (6pm to 6am) to encourage increased variety of offerings in commercial precincts.
  • Live music and performance – matched grant up to $30,000 for venue improvements to grow and enhance the quality and quantity of programming.

Applications to all City of Sydney grants can be made online.

Destructive Steps, an annual youth street dance competition based in Sydney. Image credit City of Sydney.

Advice on applying

Jackson encouraged people who were considering applying for a City of Sydney grant this year to talk to her team about their idea. ‘If we understand where you are coming from we can help you achieve those goals,’ she said.

‘In the guidelines it is pretty clear the things we are prioritising for funding in 2018, so reading those documents, and having a look at the form ahead of time so you know the questions we are asking, is the best advice I can offer,’ said Jackson.

She added: ‘We are definitely looking for projects that can show how they will connect – by having partnerships with other cultural organisations or with local business or across interests groups and stakeholders – to get the broadest impact possible.’

Jackson recognised that presenting a project budget is the thing that most often trips people up when applying for a grant.  She said: ‘

Jackson encouraged people who were considering applying for a City of Sydney grant this year to talk to her team about their idea. ‘If we understand where you are coming from we can help you achieve those goals,’ she said.

‘In the guidelines it is pretty clear the things we are prioritising for funding in 2018, so reading those documents, and having a look at the form ahead of time so you know the questions we are asking, is the best advice I can offer,’ said Jackson.

She added: ‘We are definitely looking for projects that can show how they will connect – by having partnerships with other cultural organisations or with local business or across interests groups and stakeholders – to get the broadest impact possible.’

Jackson recognised that presenting a good project budget is the thing that most often trips people up when applying for a grant.  She said: ‘A detailed budget demonstrates that you understand the mechanics of how to deliver something. What is really important for us is that it’s a great idea, and that you can show evidence of the need for it, and how you know that it is going to be something to serve the community.’

The City of Sydney is hosting 15-minute Q&A meetings on Thursday 22 February and Tuesday 27 February 2018 at Town Hall House, Kent Street, Sydney, where you can discuss your project ideas and decide which is the right program to apply for.

Schedule your appointment with the City’s grant team by visiting the City of Sydney's website

 

About the author

Gina Fairley covers the Visual Arts nationally for ArtsHub. Based in Sydney you can follow her on Twitter @ginafairley and Instagram at fairleygina.

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