Visual Arts and Craft Strategy

 Visual Arts and Craft Strategy transfer to the Australia Council

On 22 August 2012 former Arts Minister Simon Crean announced that the administration of the Australian Government Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS) funding ($22.3 over four years from 2011-12 to 2014-15) will be transferred to the Australia Council.

This transfer is part of a broader transfer of functions to the Australia Council that will provide opportunities to consolidate Australian Government arts funding, improve service to the sector, achieve greater administrative efficiency and  broaden the Australia Council’s engagement across the sector to help deliver the goals of the National Cultural Policy.

Since the commencement of VACS in 2003, the Australia Council has delivered the majority of Australian Government VACS funding through an agreement with the Ministry for the Arts.  Recipients include arts and craft organisations, publications, arts events, artist run initiatives and individual artists

For existing VACS recipients funding arrangements will continue as per agreements entered into with the Australia Council and state or territory arts agencies (if applicable).

VACS will continue to be a partnership between the Australian and State and Territory Governments. Future VACS packages will be negotiated by the Ministry for the Arts, state and territory arts agencies and the Australia Council, and agreed by cultural ministers.

  VACS transfer fact sheet 

Visual Arts and Craft Strategy Funding

In December 2011, the Australian Government announced the renewal of the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy from 2011-15 that will deliver $55.3 million over four years to the contemporary visual arts and craft sector. The Australian Government will provide $27.7 million to the initiative, with matched funding from state and territory governments.  

The objectives of the package are to build a strong and dynamic contemporary visual arts sector, characterised by a stable base of organisations, which in turn support the production and appreciation of works of artistic excellence. Creativity and excellence, linked with public appreciation and informed critical debate are the key outcomes for the package of support.


On 23 July 2001 the Australian Government announced an independent inquiry into the contemporary visual arts and crafts sector. The inquiry, chaired by Mr Rupert Myer AM,investigated the sustainability, development and promotion of the sector. Submissions were invited to help identify challenges for the industry - including opportunities to better target existing support, the impact of new technologies and consumer demand, and the flow on effects to other sectors.

The Report of the Contemporary Visual Arts and Craft Inquiry, which presents the inquiry’s findings, including 20 recommendations, was released in September 2002. The inquiry identified the economic contribution of the contemporary visual arts and craft sector through commercial activity, the flow-on benefits from the innovation and creativity inherent in the sector, as well as the cultural contribution to the aesthetic and spiritual life of the community.

Through a process of research, consultation and analysis, it identified actions that the sector itself could take to address some of the issues, and identified other actions requiring policy, legislative and financial responses by governments, agencies and institutions.

In December 2003, the Cultural Ministers Council announced its formal response to the report of the Inquiry (CMC Communiqué). The response was the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, with an original investment of $39 million over four years, delivered jointly by the Australian Government and all state and territory governments, to increase the viability and vitality of Australia's contemporary visual arts sector.

In May 2007 the Australian Government announced a continuation of the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy through the provision of an additional $27.4 million over four years.

 In 2010 the Australia Council for the Arts released an evaluation report of the components of the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy that it administers and found that the second stage of the initiative had been successful in delivering the objectives of the Strategy. The report is available here.