The ACT government will spend $1 million to support key arts organisations in an effort to prevent them from collapsing after coronavirus restrictions have seen galleries and exhibitions shut and public events cancelled.
The extra funding brings total government support for the arts sector hit by the pandemic in the ACT to nearly $2.2 million.
Arts Minister Gordon Ramsay said the extra funding would prevent organisations from folding during the crisis.
"We know that arts organisations have been hit substantially. We know that arts organisations' income is down. We know that arts organisations are suffering in a really disproportionate way," Mr Ramsay said.
Eligible organisations include Megalo Access Arts, PhotoAccess, Music For Canberra, The Street Theatre, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Canberra Glassworks and the Canberra Contemporary Art Space.
Mr Ramsay said there would be a "streamlined" process for organisations to apply for the funding. Grant eligibility would be assessed against lost income, other sources of funding and how the organisations would keep people employed in the sector, he said.
"We do know that arts organisations are at risk. We certainly don't want to see a Carriageworks in Canberra. We want to make sure our arts organisations survive, and not only survive through this, but are assisted to foster new ways of thinking, foster new ways of expressing arts themselves," he said.
Sydney's Carriageworks, which attracted more than 1 million visitors a year to arts and literary events and was mainly supported with events revenue, entered voluntary administration on this week.
Mr Ramsay said there would always be a role for government to provide funding for arts organisations, but the current crisis should not prompt a wholesale rethink of the process.
"No organisations here in the ACT think it should be able to survive with full funding from government. It's very much something we want to do together, with the arts organisations and the community as a whole," he said.
The ACT government distributes about $5 million to key arts organisations annually.
Mr Ramsay said arts organisations would be an important part of Canberra's post-pandemic recovery.
"The creative sector is going to be fundamentally important to the way we move through the next stage and then beyond COVID-19. As I say, already people are turning to the arts. The arts refresh us, the arts reflect where we are in life and they help motivate us as well," he said.
"I think that the arts are going to assist the way we come out of COVID-19 as a healthy society."
Mr Ramsay said the funding was not just trying to secure an economic benefit.
"There's a really significant benefit that flows to the whole community just on economic terms, but our creative sector is important because of the way that it helps us in our expression of our identitiy as individuals as community," he said.
Funding proposals for the $1 million pool will close on May 22.
The ACT government has already approved funding of up to $10,000 from a $500,000 pool for 66 individual artists, including painters, writers and musicians.
Twenty-seven per cent of Australian arts and recreation jobs were lost between March and April, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Most of the nearly 200,000 arts workers across Australia are ineligible for the federal government's JobKeeper program.