UNPRECEDENTED hardship on the city's arts performers and creators has swamped Ballarat Arts Foundation with appeals for grants.
BAFS' Paula Nicholson is calling for help to help keep the city's creativity alive in an industry "side-swiped" by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The foundation relies on community support in its grant program to help Ballarat's artists take their work to the next level.
Ms Nicholson said that while donations had increased year-by-year, this year there had been exceptional demand.
BAF received funding requests adding up to more than $110,000, which far outstrips the foundation's budget.
A record number of applications were lodged by Friday evening in what BAF found amounted to creative arts projects with a combined value of $500,000.
Like everyone, we're forging on...Interest in our grants program this year has been, understandably, huge.Paula Nicholson, Ballarat Arts Foundation
BAF's Paula Nicholson said Ballarat's artists, across all disciplines, had been deeply impacted by global pandemic in loss of work, particularly contractual, temporary and seasonal workers.
"BAF recognises the dedication, skill and vision that underpin the work of any artist. We know how they make our world a better, braver place - we want to see them continue the journey towards their artistic ideal," Ms Nicholson said.
"Like everyone, we're forging on...Interest in our grants program this year has been, understandably, huge."
BAF marks its 20th anniversary this year with celebrations suspended.
The foundation's base was in a $5000 seed gift from Rotary Club of Ballarat South in a pledge to support Ballarat artists and to foster a creative arts scene.
Community donations and funding has since grown to support 320 artists via BAF's annual grants program.
Funds are available to emerging artists who have lived, worked or studied in Ballarat to develop a creative career.
Successful applicants are shown to contribute to the Ballarat community in a tangible way with their skills, aiming to make the community richer, beautiful and full of meaning for their art.
Ms Nicholson encouraged people to join the conversation about keeping the region's creative industries alive via the foundation's Facebook and Instagram, @ballaratartsfoundation.
More details are available at ballaratartsfoundation.org.au.
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