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Massive Response To Creative NZ's COVID-19 Emergency Support, With Some Phase 1 Timeframes Shortened

In just four weeks, Creative New Zealand has invested almost $8 million of an available $16 million through Phase 1 of its COVID-19 Emergency Response Package and, due to the overwhelming response, will shorten the application timeframe for two opportunities to ensure it has sufficient resources and can continue to effectively plan its Phase 2 support for the arts sector as the environment changes again.

“This has been an unprecedented time, prompting an unprecedented response from Creative New Zealand, and has in turn been met with outstanding positive feedback and huge uptake from the arts community,” says Arts Council Chair Michael Moynahan.

Creative New Zealand, after discussion with Arts Council leadership, decided today to bring forward the closing date for applying for both the Emergency Relief Grant (for loss of income) and the Arts Continuity Grant (project funding to 30 September), from 18 June to the new date of 29 May – giving people two weeks from today to get their applications in. The closing date for the Short-term Relief for Investment Clients remains unchanged at 31 May.

This first phase has been focused on supporting artists, arts practitioners and arts organisations to recover, maintain and develop their practice in the completely changed lockdown environment of alert level 4. So far, the organisation has confirmed support for 973 artists and arts practitioners as well as some 68 arts groups, collectives and organisations (including one of its investment clients) to meet immediate needs and provide funding for projects to be delivered through to September 2020.

The need has exceeded all expectations and reflects COVID-19’s huge negative impact on the arts sector, with the organisation receiving and processing more applications in the last four weeks than it would normally process in an entire year across all its funding programmes.

“Our continued monitoring and most recent projections show the demand is remaining constant and the $16 million allocated from reserves and repurposed funding will be reached in a shorter timeframe than anticipated, and likely exceeded. Now knowing this, closing our first phase early is the responsible thing to do,” says Michael.

Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright says, “We encourage people to apply within the next two weeks, and will consider these applications in the same way that we have treated all previous applications. In addition to the initial $4.5 million call on our reserves, signalled in April and part of the $16 million total, the Arts Council will call further on its financial reserves to support its Phase 1 response if that is necessary.”

“By reducing the application period for these Phase 1 opportunities, we can process the applications received up until the new closing date, and refocus on the opportunities we will provide in the new financial year as part of Phase 2 (from July 2020),” says Stephen.

Looking to the next financial year, Creative New Zealand is encouraged by the Government’s signalled extra investment in the arts, as part of the 2020/21 Budget.

“We’re really pleased to see the Government acknowledge the value of the arts and look forward to seeing the details of the Arts Recovery Package in the days to come,” says Michael.

Stephen continues, “A lot has happened in a short time as we have moved through alert levels. It’s good that we’re now at level 2, and we need to continue to be agile and respond to the changing environment of what will be a long recovery.”

The Arts Council will meet on 26 May to consider Creative New Zealand’s Phase 2 approach, taking the changed environment into consideration and incorporating lessons from Phase 1 (such as rolling application rounds). The organisation will be working hard to announce new funding opportunities as soon as possible after this meeting.

The organisation urges those with draft applications in its system and those intending to apply for the Phase 1 Arts Continuity and Emergency Relief Grants to do so by 1pm on Friday, 29 May. (The closing date for the Short-term Relief for Investment Clients remains unchanged at 31 May.)

“Our people are here to support you, along with our video resources, weekly ‘zui’ and ‘zono’ and website content,” says Stephen.

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