HOTA has $1000 Artist Grants. Are you eligible?
Ashlee Smale | On 15, Apr 2020
We spoke with CEO of HOTA, Criena Gehrke, about the artist grants available to artists during this time.
Growing up in Queensland, CEO of Home of the Arts Criena Gehrke, spent most of her childhood in the back of halls watching her parents direct and sew in amateur theatre productions. She always knew she would work in the Arts, and her commitment to the Arts radiates during COVID-19.
With the economic contribution of Arts and Culture to the Australian economy as 110 billion dollars per year and employing over 600,000 people, the impact of cancelling and postponing shows is ginormous. “Many of those are casuals and freelance workers that are reliant on project by project to put a roof over their head and feed their families. And also to have an outlet for their creative spirit, it has just been devastating,” said Gehrke.
“And then also when you look at how a whole bunch of other industries surround Arts and Culture, so hospitality, food and beverage, major events, infrastructure, lighting companies, audio companies, it is just absolutely devastating.”
“What is interesting is just the way that the sector has come together to provide a voice to government and to really communicate clearly to government that the sector is hurting.”
Gerhke notes that her days have been spent “turning inward and trying to take care of our people.” Her days are currently spent trying to understand what is going on, what is going to happen next and how to best support HOTA’s workforce.
“HOTA’s response to COVID-19 came about within the first week that it was evident that the world was going into shutdown.”
“So we immediately dug deep through the budget to find a modest amount of money so that we could continue to support artists to create work during this time.”
The grant program initiated by HOTA is called ‘Rage Against the Virus’ which gives $1000 rapid response (within a week) grants to artists. “They really are about getting artists to develop imperfect ideas, new ideas, ideas that they have been thinking about for a while, as long as they can develop them in their lounge rooms or studios in a safe way and they have some kind of digital outcome. We want to be able to share it with the community and promote those artists.”
“The other thing that we’ve been insistent on is because they are $1000 grants, we want to make sure that artists are valued and paid for their time, so they are not spending more than a week developing the work.”
“The first week we had 100 applications. And we did our first round of announcements and there were 12 artists that we managed to support in that particular round. And then we will roll the next projects that came into the following week.”
“And I have to say that some of the projects, and they are all available online, are just really interesting. The ideas are just out there. It’s such a devastating thing that’s happening to everyone across the globe, but I still stand by the fact that our creative community show a resilience and courage and are leaning into these global moments to create this really new extraordinary work.”
Continually inspired by the artists, creatives and HOTA team, Gehrke notes that watching the artist responses to this situation gives her hope. “And I always say you can’t be a Home of The Arts without absolutely cherishing artists. And what we do in the arts that is our currency is humanity, so we’re well placed to be able to support people throughout this time.”