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Creative spaces: responding to COVID-19

Creative spaces throughout the country have closed the doors to their premises but staff, artists and volunteers are find innovative ways to support each other beyond the physical space. This page includes some of these ideas and activities: we would love you to let us know about your activities. There are also ways that the Government, Arts Access Aotearoa and other organisations can support you. 

What creative spaces around the country are doing

Among the innovative ideas and activities, creative spaces are:

  • creating online workshops especially for their client group and posting to YouTube, Facebook or websites
  • creating closed Facebook groups where artists and staff can post private updates of their artwork and send messages of support/inspiration
  • supplying artists with packs of equipment and materials
  • loaning creative space library books
  • keeping in touch by phone and email, at regular intervals
  • offering chat lines or group session times online

Arts Access Aotearoa support

  • Auckland Community Arts Engagement Advisor Gary Silipa is available to assist any creative spaces with questions, advice and issues related to your IT (Information Technology) set-up: for example, setting up online meetings and classes; helping with your business continuity plan (working remotely). Email Gary 
  • Links supporting the Deaf and disabled communities
  • CreativeSpacesNZ Facebook page is a closed page to share share news and ideas with your colleagues: please join, if you haven’t already joined, and contribute your posts and comments.

Mental Health Support Line

For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text the 'Need to talk?' service on 1737. This service is free, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and gives you the chance to talk it through with a trained counsellor.

Business continuity/sustainability support

Check with your contract provider (DHB, ACC, MSD) that contract payments will continue through this time.  If not, the following support may be available to you.

Government Support Package: Wage Subsidy

If you experience a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month when compared with the same month last year, and that decline is related to COVID-19, then you can apply for the wage subsidy.

How much you can get:

The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy will be paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 for people working 20 hours or more per week
  • $350.00 for people working less than 20 hours per week.

The subsidy is paid as a lump sum and covers 12 weeks per employee.

This subsidy is designed to help businesses keep their staff in employment and as such there is a requirement that if you receive this subsidy you must make best efforts to retain employees and pay them a minimum of 80% of their normal income for the subsidised period. For more information and to apply 

Tax relief

To support businesses and individuals impacted by COVID-19, the Government is proposing to give Inland Revenue the discretion to write-off use of money interest (UOMI) on payments due on or after 14 February 2020 if a taxpayer’s ability to make a tax payment on time has been significantly adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

This has similar criteria to the wage subsidy (30% decline in actual or expected revenue due to COVID-19). For further information 

If you are having trouble meeting your upcoming tax obligations this will offer some relief. The tax itself will still remain due but when you have the funds to pay the tax you can apply for a remission of the interest.

Creative New Zealand Emergency Response Package

This package is specifically targeted at artists and arts organisations. Details were released on 24 March and the first phase includes a $16 million investment to buffer and support the arts community, with benefits extending well beyond the immediate crisis.  This initial rapid response funding will be available from 14 April and will be distributed to the sector through to 30 June 2020. Phase two, which will provide support beyond June 2020, will be explored at the April Arts Council meeting.  Read more

Commercial Leases

If you're a creative space with a commercial lease there may be a clause in your lease agreement which makes it legal to not pay some or all of your rent during lockdown. Read more

Other links

Culture: Access to 500 Museums & Art Galleries – free online

Field trips and learning: A list of free, online, boredom-busting resources

Meditations for relaxation: for example, this one for Daily Calm – 10 minute mindfulness meditation takes you through body mapping

Young people: Activities for children and teens 

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