Creative Recovery Small Grants Program

In 2020 Regional Arts Victoria worked in partnership with Regional Development Victoria, Bushfire Recovery Victoria and Creative Victoria on the Creative Recovery Small Grants Program.

The Creative Recovery Small Grants Program supported individual artists and organisations based in six local government authority areas of Alpine, East Gippsland, Indigo, Mansfield, Towong and Wangaratta.

50 projects were funded that focused on community connection, engagement and resilience for communities impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires in regional Victoria. 

Successful Applicants


Myrtleford Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc
The Big Tree
The funding will support the Myrtleford Chamber of Commerce to engage the ‘Two Crackpots’ (local mosaic artists) in developing a large mosaic mural. The artists will work with the community, bringing people together post bush fires to talk about and share what they value about their town, leading to the co-creation of a large ˜mosaic tree’ embedded with images that represent the communities thoughts about what they ‘love’ about Myrtleford, using recycled materials, on a prominent wall on the Great Alpine Road.

Ashlee Laing
Homebased Artist Residency
This funding will support Ashlee Laing to undertake a 6 week, home-based, artist residency researching the concepts of social sculpture as a methodology to develop and present socially engaged art within the public spaces of rural and regional Victorian communities.

Kate Crowley   
Re-establishing the workshop
This fund will support Kate Crowley to re-establish the tools and stock lost in Cudgewa bushfires 2020. Although Kate had Leather hides stored elsewhere, the vital tools and machines and dyes stored at her house were completely destroyed along with her home. Kate would like to replace the items lost so that she can resume her craft, business and creative outlet.

FROTH Organisation
Lake Tyers Beach
FROTH is a roving live storytelling event where members of East Gippsland communities in Lakes Entrance and beyond have the opportunity to tell personal stories before live audiences. Funding will enable FROTH to prepare the fertile ‘story sharing’ ground by engaging storytelling practitioners to conduct workshops and ‘skill’ participants.

Emma Paton
Thowgla Valley
Little Bobbin Creative Space and Community Hub
Emma Paton and their small business ‘Little Bobbin’ will create a workshop/shop in the hub of Corryong, showcasing their creative talents and engaging the community with workshops and collaborations. The artist will use this grant to support their move into a store front to produce and display their work, and help teach others through workshops and community connection opportunities.

Craig Dent
This fund will support Craig Dent on a new literature creative development project writing about loss with the metaphor ‘saplings re-emerging from the blackened twisted trunks’, a vivid and emotive expression about what can never be replaced.

Kirrily Anderson                      
Rutherglen Recovery Mural Mentorship
This funding will support Kirrily Anderson to develop and facilitate a summer mentoring program for selected youth from Indigo Shire. The program will engage a small group of young people who will work together to undertake the briefing, design and painting of a public mural in Rutherglen, working with the theme ˜Resilience’.    

Claire O’Connell
Moving Forward With Music
Claire O’Connell is a professional singer and vocal teacher, living in the Indigo Shire. These funds will support Claire to purchase technology and equipment to enable online/digital content to be delivered more effectively.

India MacDonell
Black summer aftermath and recovery
This funding will support India MacDonell develop their film making based on her 2019/2020 bushfire experience defending and saving her home. India will continue a mini-documentary series by sharing the aftermath/recovery process.


Bridge the River Arts
Art Jammin˜
This funding will support Bridge the River Arts (BTRA) group to provide an art social event which will inspire members of the fire affected Upper Murray community. BTRA group will also work with the children of the Walwa Primary School in a separate but allied school project to bring forth their creative ideas and put them on canvas.           

Katherine Hulme
Working with lino, Printmaking workshop
This funding will support Katherine Hulme to conduct a beginner’s printmaking workshop. Using linocut technique, students will learn the process of design, cutting and printing, going home with their own completed artwork. They will also be shown ways to complete prints at home using alternative tools, without the expense of a printmaking press.             

Tijana Simic
Online Ladybird Music Sessions          
Tijana Simic will produce a high-quality music class video for preschool children with a focus on development of literacy, self-esteem, confidence, gross and fine motor skills as well as encouraging physical activity through body movement and dance.  The video will include segments of music by local artists to help strengthen community connections and engagement.

Benjamin Gilbert
Sculptural landscape elements for local aged care – non for profit
The funding will support Agency of Sculpture (AoS) to create outdoor sculptural seating for the CARE Sanctuary at Yackandandah Health Aged Care.

Gippsland & East Gippsland Aboriginal Cooperative
Aboriginal Weaving Online Workshops
This funding will support Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Cooperative present via Zoom, Weaving Workshops. These will provide a creative outlet strengthening cultural identity, encouraging fun and improving social interactions.      

Rachel Mounsey
Rachel Mounsey is a photographer based in Far East Gippsland. Working in regional areas, Rachel will be supported to use social documentary and portraiture to tell the stories of people and life in regional and rural Australia.

Clare Noonan
Creative Re-connection and Healing
Clare Noonan is a young person based in Corryong who will use the funds to purchase art supplies. These will assist Clare in expanding her colours and mediums to complete works of art through online art therapy. Clare is working on personal development towards her career goals of graphic design and animation.

Heather Chatwood
Clifton Creek
Replacement of lost tools and materials destroyed in the bush fires
Heather Chatwood is a practicing stained glass artist. During the bushfires in January 2020 her Glass art studio burnt down losing 30 years of patterns and designs, tools, materials and storage. These finds will assist Heather to replace some of those tools and materials to begin making art again.        

Kelly Albornoz
Secret Santa Christmas Themed Photos
This funding will support Kelly Asmus Albornoz, photographer at Albatross Photography and Design to create custom photography for young people with special needs.      

Gary Proctor
Gary Proctor Exhibition
Funding will support Gary Proctor for the development of an exhibition of his paintings to be presented at Qdos Gallery in Lorne, Victoria from the summer of 2021.  Paintings and drawings will be created in his studio in Mallacoota.     


Chris Henderson
Public Art Mural
This funding will create two murals to celebrate the importance of local flora and fauna. The murals will also support the artist’s aim to create an opportunity to inspire the next generation of artists by building a bigger local public art scene.

Arts Yackandandah Inc
Writing for Performance & Recordings of Radio Plays and Monologues
In order to reach the Yackandandah and Indigo Shire audience, Arts Yackandandah Inc will record monologues and a play on Indigo FM Radio. The Arts Yackandandah Theatre Co will record monologues about local characters. Arts Yackandandah will run a writing workshop to work on material for performance in 2021 entitled Comings and Goings-Arrivals and Departures from Yackandandah. This would involve local writers’ group and a local Dramaturg.

Margaret Pearson
Liquid Art
This project will support artist Marg Pearson to rebuild and resume the business (Liquid Art) which was severely impacted by the recent East Gippsland fires. The project will plan and prepare for COVID safe delivery of Liquid Art Workshops throughout East Gippsland once it is permitted to do so. 

Andrea Lane
Lakes Entrance
Festival Cartography
This funding will support three local curators and a cartographer to develop a place-based, LIGHT-inspired program for the inaugural 2-week long East Gippsland Winter Festival. ‘Festival Cartography’.

Bethanga Primary School
Connected Creatively
This funding will support Bethanga Primary School to employ an ˜Artist in Residence’ who will, over several weeks and sessions, workshop with students and design a mural that depicts connections and recovery.

Julie Parker
Julie Parker Environmental Artist
To support Julie Parker to replace all lost items/equipment and supplies from the Mallacoota NYE Bushfires.

Robert Logie
Reedy Flat
Equipment Replacement
Robert is a printmaker and oil painter who lives in the community in Reedy Flat.  Funding will support the artist in replacing his fire-damaged printmaking press.

Ian Trevaskis
Professional Development
This funding will assist and support Ian Trevaskis’s professional development as a writer to access Writers Victoria on-line workshops while COVID-19 restrictions are in place, and to attend face-to-face workshops when restrictions are lifted.

Bruthen Primary School
Community Matters
Bruthen Primary School will undertake the ‘Community Matters’ art project with the children, aiming to support the children community to emotionally recover from the Black Summer bush fires though art and storytelling. Arts Therapist, Andrea Farley will work with the children at the school to create personal art works and encourage the children to talk about their experiences, isolation and community resilience. Local musician and music technician, Brent Hodgkins, will record the children’s stories in his music studio.

Marley Dawson
Studio fire preparedness planning and implementation.
This funding will support Marley Dawson to take preparatory steps to ensure the sustainability/viability and safety of the studio and practice within a fire-prone area.

Emma McPherson
Equipment replacement resilience and recovery
Northeast photographer Emma McPherson˜s camera gear was damaged by fire retardant while changing lenses during the 2020 bushfires. This funding will allow her to replace the convenient mirrorless camera and 28mm lens.

Donald Ashby
Tools and materials replacement
The Victorian bushfire of 19/20 destroyed Donald Ashby’s Studio and storage areas that contained tools, art works and materials. Funds will replace what was lost.

Susannah Keebler
Show & Tell: Dance and Its Documents In the Context of Crisis
This funding will support dancer, Susannah Keebler, to undertake Show & Tell: Dance and Its Documents In the Context of Crisis, a creative research of dance documentation methods in post-disaster Mallacoota. It will explore how data and experience live in a body and can be shared in dance performance, transforming cultural data into art that bridges individual experiences and fosters mutuality, artist-community partnerships relationships, and community resilience.

BMF Rock School Inc
Rockin’ On Music Video Project
This funding will be used re-engage and re-invigorate the Rock School program by introducing previous participants to the recording process using their own classroom at the Old Beechworth Gaol as a studio.

Julianne Piko
Professional Practice & Development
This funding will support Julianne Piko to undertake self-initiated creative professional practice. This project will allow a recovery phase of reinstating studio practice with explorations into processes and sustainable eco-materials. It offers the ability for Julianne to commit time and energy alongside the critical financial support to do classes and seek mentorship.

Wilderness Coast Artists Inc
This project will be a members’ exhibition of artwork created before and in response to last summer’s bushfires. It will include artwork from that exhibition and an interactive section where participants and visitors can create and display their own visual stories of their bushfire experiences.

Kristin Rule
MAD Random Acts Living Film
The MAD Random Acts Living Film has grown collectively and creatively from the ashes of the black summer fires that devastated Mallacoota and districts.  The pilot program will hold workshops for locals to learn the art of filmmaking as a story medium from established filmmakers.

The Goulburn and North East Arts Alliance (GANEAA)
This funding will cover artist fees for three local artists to create new works and deliver workshops inspired by the Mullinmur Billabong a regenerated area beside the Ovens (Torryong) River in Wangaratta. Workshops will be delivered as part of Elemental, the 2021 Across the Arts Forum presented by GANEAA.

Mallacoota Arts Council inc
Children’s sculpture workshop for bushfire recovery
Small groups of children will work with renowned artist Jade Oakley to create bird sculptures from cane, hand dyed silk and biodegradable cable ties. Students from Mallacoota K12 college and returning visitors will be invited to attend the workshops, and the artmaking will be assisted by volunteers from the local community.

Interchange Gippsland
Aboriginal Art Workshop
This funding will support Interchange Gippsland to create an opportunity for a workshop that engages the local Aboriginal community, and those living with additional needs, strengthening community connection, engagement and resilience through the arts.

Clifton Creek Primary School
Clifton Creek
Moving through Adversity
To support Clifton Creek Primary School to replace the school’s djembe drums, that were lost in the fires, with quality, local handmade djembe drums and participate in drumming workshops.

Janet Leith
Young Artist Mentorship Program
Following the impact of bushfires and the completion of Yr. 12, funding will allow young emerging artist, 18-year-old Sara Cope, to continue to work on a creative art practice as a Resident Artist at Art Gallery on Ovens through a Young Artist Mentorship Program for one year. The program will be facilitated by Janet Leith, Director of the Gallery.

Kellie Wolfson
Replacement of tools and creative recovery support
This funding will enable the replacement of damaged equipment and provide an opportunity to progress Kellie Wolfson’s photography ambitions.

W Tree Promotion and Progress Association Inc
W Tree
W Tree Ceramics Group
This funding will support Gayle Ford to hold workshops with residents of the small community of W Tree to make ceramic sculptures.  The funding will also be used to purchase an electric kiln to fire the completed sculptures. 

Nicole Oakes
Computer Aided Knitting Design Set-up
Nicole’s artistic focus is on knitted garments, accessories and homeware pieces through her business Nic Wilde Textile Design. Knitting machines are described as the 3D printers of garment construction and assisted by this fund Nicole will open up the possibilities of knit design. By purchasing computer aided knitting design software Nicole can expand her practice and develop her practice.

Lisa Bishop
Chiltern Artists Gallery
The funding will cover rental costs for a premises to be used as a local artist’s gallery in Chiltern. Artist Lisa Bishop will take on a lease in the space next to her own studio and art store, to setup an Artist’s Gallery for local creatives to exhibit and sell their work. The exposure for the artists will support their development and sustainability, and the gallery will become a central place for creatives to gather, increasing social cohesion.

Kate O’Toole
Life Drawing
This funding will support the Life Drawing class to resume its activities that have been disrupted this year. The class will run in a relaxed, informal manner and people of all abilities are encouraged to come and try life drawing. To make the class accessible for everyone, all materials are provided, and the cost is kept minimal.

Cindy Lee
Songs From the Valley
Inspired by Buchan and its rich local history, East Gippsland musicians Cindy Lee and David Swift will create a one-hour audio-visual show that tells the tales “ tall and true “ of this small town. This funding will support the research and development of the show, engaging the community in storytelling, and allowing the artists to return to their creative practice of songwriting, singing and performing.

Beechworth Primary School
Calmer Community Connections Project
This funding will support Beechworth Primary School to undertake a creative arts project with an Indigenous artist. The students will connect with natural contexts and flora and fauna through the arts. The students will research local natural environments and learn more about the animals and plants in their local area. This knowledge will become the shared community understandings and will be transformed into a visual display which will take the form of a collection of mural storyboards.

Nicole Amabile Migotto-Brown
The Phoenix Tree Project
This funding will support Nicole to bring joyful Mallacoota stories to aid in recovery. Nicole will paint a Phoenix rising from a burnt gum tree, which will hang in Mallacoota Arts Space gallery for the duration of the project. Nicole will perform and run workshops to inspire people’s stories.

Matthew Vaughan
The Mystic Hill Trails
This funding will support Mat Vaughan to undertake an investigation into the mountain bike trails surrounding his home near Bright. Vaughan will document each trail, tracing them with his body, footsteps and bicycle. Then transfer this documentation onto paper through drawing and mark making. The final version of the maps will be retraced onto and then etched into copper, just as the trails have been etched into the mountain and reproduced as prints on archival quality rag paper.

Image and photo release forms and information

Please read the Funding Conditions above and include the following acknowledgement text along with the logos in advertising and promotional material:

[This Project] is supported by the Australian Government’s Arts and Cultural Development Program, Regional Arts Australia and Regional Arts Victoria.

Please contact Regional Arts Victoria via email [email protected] if you have any queries regarding the logo.

Acquitting your grant

To acquit your grant, log in to SmartyGrants using the same log in details you used to apply. Click under the “My Submissions” link at the top of the page. Here you will see your submission and the associated forms open and waiting for you to complete.