By Kristina Arnott

Whether you’re a crafter, visual artist, performance maker or something entirely different, there are plenty of opportunities to get help with getting your art out there – the trick is knowing where (and when) to look.

We’ve put together a list of programs through which you can get your creative work funded, deliver it as part of a larger event or program, or both!

Critical Animals Creative Research Symposium –  Deadline 15 April (Extended)

A little further afield but definitely worth a trip, Critical Animals Creative Research Symposium takes place alongside This is Not Art, a free national independent art festival held in Newcastle.  This symposium is no formal occasion of keynote speeches and awkward networking over morning tea – previously it’s included poetry readings, film screenings, interactive performances, dance jams, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions, installations and music.  Basically, if you have something interesting to say about emerging and experimental arts practices and can present it in a form that’s engaging for an audience, Critical Animals is for you!

The theme of this year’s Symposium (taking place from 29th September-2nd October) is ‘Madness of Many’ (eg. what happens when your mates get behind your crazy ideas and help you make them happen).  Proposals from all creative fields are open until Friday 15th April – check out Critical Animals’ website for more info:

Big West Festival – Deadline 17 April

Big West is a community-based festival that presents art made for, by and about Melbourne’s western suburbs.  If you’re an artist (or some form of creative being – they also want proposals from architects, metalsmiths, engineers, traders, etc) living or working in the west, you’re eligible to apply for their November 2017 festival.  They’re into site-specific work that responds to venues, cultural sites and suburban streets, and are open to all creative disciplines and a few that push the boundaries of disciplines (eg. last year’s Neighbours, a surreal part-walking tour, part-performance piece where participants were led from a boxing studio to a cafe to various homes in the backstreets of Footscray, ‘performed’ by both residents and artists).

Big West is also keen to work with community groups who’d like to develop an idea or an event in partnership with an artist, or with arts companies and businesses who want to partner with them.  Applications close Sunday 17 April 2016, find more info here:

City of Stonnington Arts and Cultural Grants – Deadline 24 April

If you’re interested in developing work that will engage with and benefit a community (and wouldn’t mind a bit of cash to get started), City of Stonnington want to hear from you.  There are a few extra hoops to jump through when applying for their 2016/17 Arts and Cultural Grant Program, including providing a budget, marketing plan, and having public liability insurance, but this might be worth it if you’ve got a grand idea that needs a cash injection and some organisational support.

Proposals can include performing and visual arts, literature, film, new media and architecture, as well as festivals and community events, and you don’t have to be a Stonnington resident to apply – although the work should benefit the cultural and economic development of the Stonnington community.

Applications close 24 April 2016, get in touch with Stonnington first to have a chat about your ideas:

Melbourne Fringe Festival – Fringe Hub EOIs close 25 April, general Fringe registrations close 23 May

Of all Melbourne’s arts and cultural festivals, Fringe is possibly the most exciting for emerging and independent artists and organisations.  Fringe allows artists and creative folk to take risks, develop their skills, and present new work to a large and committed audience.  It’s a major event in a Melburnian’s cultural calendar, so getting your creative thing under the Fringe umbrella can really set you up for success.  Fringe also provides a bunch of super helpful workshops to aide you in developing your work, with topics ranging from marketing, to making your event accessible, to fundraising (psst: you don’t actually have to be participating in Fringe to attend workshops 😉).

My favourite thing about Fringe is that their website specifically states that they can accommodate “any kind of work you want to present” – sounds like a challenge to come up with something totally unique and weird to me!  Check out full details here:

Poppy Seed Festival – 29 April 2016

Poppy Seed is a brand new theatre festival – they presented their first season last year, and they’re currently asking for proposals from directors, producers, designers, performers and collectives for their November/December 2016 program.  From the proposals, they’ll choose four of the most viable and exciting works and give them each $7,500, a publicist, a venue, production support and more!

Chosen applicants from all four productions will also share resources and work collaboratively as an ‘ensemble’ to support each other and ensure the overall success of the festival, as well as receiving structured training from industry professionals to increase their skills and knowledge.  So funding + venue, marking and logistical support + professional development + networking – the full package!

Have a look at Poppy Seed Festival’s website for more info and to book into an information session – a good idea before you start your application:

Need help with putting together an application?  Colour Box Studio offers affordable tailored mentoring services for creative folks, with a 30% discount for Colour Box Studio Members.  Get in touch for more info.

Featured image: Colour Box Studio Summer Pop Up Shop 2013 by Chloe Morgan.