One of the very first industries that was hit by the COVID-19 partial lockdown measure was surely that of the arts and the creative sector. All performances, exhibitions, related courses and projects came to an abrupt halt and had to be cancelled with all the emotional and economic repercussions that brings with it both for the artists and the art lovers.
It is already extremely difficult for artists who try to make a living solely on their profession to survive in the best of times, with social distancing in full swing, making ends meet is a bigger struggle. A survey carried out last March highlighted that “167 out of the 346 respondents earn an income solely from the arts” and since the pandemic hit off in Malta, “32.5% lost most of their income, 28.2% lost all income and 41% claim that their family is dependent on their income from the arts”.
Arts Council Malta understanding the dire situation faced by the creative arts community immediately lobbied with the Government and on the 25th March announced that those self-employed in the creative arts can also apply for the COVID-19 wage supplement and may be entitled to up to five days’ salary based on a monthly wage of €800. Applications are being handled through Malta Enterprise on this link.
On the 3rd of April 2020, the Arts Council Malta further announced that together with the Ministry for National Heritage, Arts and Local Government that funds amount to €75,000 have been directed towards a Special Call of the Malta Arts Fund which will invest in projects which address with immediacy and on a long-term basis, the cultural and creative sector impacted by Covid-19. The Guidelines provide that there will be a maximum eligible budget of €7,500 per project and such projects with an eligible timeframe of 12 months may fall under one or more of the following:
- artistic development and production;
- community-based initiatives;
- cultural and creative sector support;
- training or education development;
- international exchange and collaboration;
- artistic research.
Proposed themes may include borders, confinement or isolation and the adoption of new media and digital technologies for the implementation of their projects is also encouraged. The deadline for such applications is 23rd April 2020 with results scheduled for the 7th May 2020.
On the 7th April 2020, the Council further launched the Kreattiv Funding Programme with an online networking board. The aim of this fund to initiate creative projects in schools through collaborations between teachers, students and creative practitioners thereby facilitating creative education for holistic development and also introduce cultural and creative entrepreneurship among students. Proposals are to be submitted by educational institutions (primary to tertiary education). The eligible budget per selected project is between €5000 to €8000 euros.
To close, a simple reminder that, while we are all boringly locked inside obeying our health care professionals’ advice to #stayhometosavelives, it is the creative arts that is keeping us all entertained and for this they deserve our recognition and support. So look out for your favourite artists, musicians, dance or drama companies and see how you can help them during this time of Corona!