Visual Arts and Crafts Strategy (VACS)

Policy framework 2021–2024

The Australia Council delivers the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS). VACS is a formal agreement between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to support the Australian contemporary visual arts sector by providing directed funding for individual artists, arts and craft organisations, arts events and artist run initiatives.

October 2019

At the Meeting of Cultural Ministers held in Adelaide on Friday 11 October 2019, Ministers agreed to a new Visual Arts and Craft Strategy Policy Framework for 2021–2024.

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 funding across all jurisdictions, has provided the sector with increased resilience, allowing it to take a strategic, long-term approach to addressing issues and pressures.


To deliver a nationally coordinated joint package of funding and support for the Australian contemporary visual arts sector that promotes creative work by living visual artists and craft practitioners, and the organisations that support their practice – adapted from Report of the Contemporary Visual Arts and Craft Inquiry 2003 (the Myer Report).


The following objectives apply to all funding 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.

Funding framework

Funding 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 funding with states and territories, as a whole, matching the Australian Government contribution[1] on the basis of a formula agreed to by Cultural Ministers in 2003.

Funding is delivered via two streams:

A.  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.

B.  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 funding from both streams and to the extent it is possible, streamlined administrative arrangements will be applied.

[1] 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.