Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS)
The Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS) delivers a nationally coordinated package of investment and support for the Australian contemporary visual arts sector that promotes creative work by living artists and craft practitioners, and the organisations that support their practice.
VACS has been a valuable partnership between governments since 2003, and has been highly successful in meeting its original aim of providing stability to Australia’s visual arts and craft sector.
Investment delivered through VACS, which has become an integral and essential component of visual arts and craft investment across all jurisdictions, has provided the sector with increased resilience, allowing it to take a strategic, long-term approach to addressing issues and pressures.
The following objectives apply to all investment under VACS:
Deepen audience engagement through critical discussion about individual artists and works; new approaches to audience engagement and market development, including the use of digital and online platforms; enhanced international engagement; and high-quality touring exhibitions and events.
Expand markets and enhance international connections through market exposure and opportunities to leverage private sector support, including a particular focus on strengthening the profile of Australian arts and craft practitioners in international markets through activities such as residencies, exhibitions and fellowships.
Ensure opportunities for Australian contemporary visual artists through funding to create new work and support innovation and a diversity of practice; provide professional development opportunities; and support for artist run initiatives.
Provide professional support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists through funding to Indigenous visual arts industry service organisations and other visual arts organisations as needed to address service delivery gaps, enhance creative practice and provide professional opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and arts workers.
Build stronger, more resilient visual arts and craft organisations through business stability that drives stronger governance, innovation and art-form development, and major events and exhibitions.
Investment for VACS is a commitment of all governments in Australia, as agreed through the Meeting of Cultural Ministers (MCM). The Australian Government has committed 50% of overall investment with states and territories, as a whole, matching the Australian Government contribution* on the basis of a formula agreed to by Cultural Ministers in 2003.
Investment is delivered via two streams.
- National priorities: the national stream delivers on Australian Government priorities and supports organisations and individuals that demonstrate their contribution to meeting the objectives of VACS at a national level, while also demonstrating the value they add to states and territories.
- State and territory priorities: the state and territory stream supports organisations and individuals that demonstrate their contribution to VACS at a state and territory level, while also demonstrating the value they add nationally.
Organisations may receive investment from both streams and to the extent it is possible, streamlined administrative arrangements will be applied.
Australia Council VACS investment for individuals and groups
The VACS Major Commissioning Projects funds new visual arts and craft commissions to be created for presentation nationally and internationally.
Australia Council VACS investment for organisations
National priority investment delivers on Australian Government priorities and supports organisations and individuals that demonstrate their contribution to meeting the objects of VACS at a national level, while also demonstrating the value they add to states and territories.
This is an invitation only category for Australian visual art and craft organisations. State and Territory governments nominate organisations that delivery national leadership for consideration by Australia Council in a competitive grant process. The invited organisations and the amount of investment awarded are determined by the Australia Council in consultation with the relevant state and territory investment agencies.
Invitations to apply for organisational investment in 2025-2028 were issued in September 2022. Information on how and when to apply are included in the guidelines that accompanied the invitation to apply.
For more information contact: MYI@australiacouncil.gov.au
* The Australian Government contribution matched by states and territories does not include funding for the Contemporary Touring Initiative, which is additional, unmatched contribution towards the objectives of the Strategy.
The VACS logos can be accessed here.