The Malta Art Fund provides financial support for Maltese artistic initiatives and to some degree art on an international scale. It is part of the Arts Council Malta and forms part of the Strategy2020 plan which focuses on five key segments to develop and promote art across the country. They are;

  • Internationalisation
  • Business development
  • Research
  • Education and training
  • Diversity and communities

The Mata Art Fund concentrates on providing financial backing in three key areas or strands. The aim is to help artists fulfil their potential and bring their creations to a wider audience.

Strand 1 – Research Support Grant

The Research Support Grant can be obtained if an artist is carrying out practised based research in relation to the arts. In other words, artists that have an idea will have the space to test this idea and be able to experiment with it. If they are successful in applying for the grant, they will be able to claim some of the associated costs of their project.

Open to individuals, groups, and organisations, the grant offers €5,000 that can be used to cover 100% of eligible expenses.

To qualify for the grant the applicant must be a Maltese citizen, have a Malta residence permit, a Maltese citizenship certificate, or a Maltese passport.

Research Support Grant eligibility criteria are in four stages this includes:

  • Criterion 1: Relevance of the research to the creative professional/s involved
  • Criterion 2: Partners, collaborators and methodology used
  • Criterion 3: Presentation and dissemination of the research
  • Criterion 4: Management

Successful applications that pass this initial process will be invited to pitch. This is where you sell your concept to an independent judging panel. The strongest applications will receive the grant.

Strand 2 – Project Support Grant

Whereas the Research Support Grant supports artists that have an idea to develop, the Project Support Grant supports artists that have an established project and are aiming high in showcasing their work.

Open to applications from individuals, groups, and organisations, this grant is to encourage high quality projects that have the main focus of innovation, nurturing experimentation, and engaging, attracting audiences as their primary aim. To be eligible, the projects must have high production standards.

To apply applications must be from a Maltese citizen, or those who possess a Malta residence permit, a Maltese citizenship certificate, or a Maltese passport.

If successful grants of up to €20,000 will be awarded which can cover 80% of eligible expenses.

Like other Malta Art Fund grants, there is an initial selection criterion which must be passed to progress. The four stages of assessment are:

  • Criterion 1: Artistic concept
  • Criterion 2: Project management
  • Criterion 3: Audience engagement
  • Criterion 4: Budget

After it is deemed you have passed the criteria you will be invited to pitch. Here, you will get the chance to highlight the benefits of your project to an independent judging panel. You now have the chance to sell your ideas, explain concepts, and answer questions the panel may have for you.

Strand 3 – Multi-Annual Support Grant

The Multi-Annual Support Grant’s aim is to encourage international collaborations with an emphasis on other Mediterranean countries.

In 2018 this was associated with a specific project, namely, Valletta2018 artistic programme. The Arts Council Malta partnered with Valletta2018 Foundation to support projects associated with the programme. This means that your project would have been part of the Valletta2018 artistic programme to be eligible for this grant. At the time of writing, it is undecided which programme the grant will apply to in 2019.

As well as being part of a chosen project, you have to have at least one international partner. Judging panels will give priority to countries in the Mediterranean region.

Like the other two grants, it is open to individuals, groups, and organisations. Note, Public Cultural Organisations cannot be applicants but they can collaborators.

Again, an initial selection criterion applies:

  • Criterion 1: Artistic concept
  • Criterion 2: Relevance and international engagement
  • Criterion 3: Project management
  • Criterion 4: Audience engagement
  • Criterion 5: Budget

If you pass the selection criteria you will then be invited to pitch. Like the Project Support Grant, you will have the opportunity to highlight the selling points of your project, answer questions, and explain in more depth the concept and ideas that drive it.

Here are few examples of previous winners of the grants:

The Malta Arts Fund is diverse in inviting applicants as art itself. Love will tear us apart is a video game and supported by a Malta Art Fund. You can see the review here.

Applying for a Malta Art Fund Grant

The Malta Art Fund provides a help checklist here. Applications must be thorough and follow the application process to the letter. If you’re wondering whether to include a piece of information or leave it out, it is best to include it. Competition can be fierce and resources are finite. You do not want your application discarded before you get the chance to pitch.

The Malta Art Fund places a strong emphasis on the budget template. They want a detailed breakdown of costs and as such, it is advised to be as comprehensive as possible when completing your application.

In essence, they want to see:

1) Income – Are you getting or planning to get sponsorship, donors, crowdfunding, other grants? This needs to go on the form and whether this funding has been planned, requested, or secured. Planned ticket sales, royalties and licence fees also need to be put in the income section.

2) Expenditure – Include production artist fees (this can include actors, musicians, dancers, stage designers, anyone connected to the project that is paid for their time).

All aspects of management fees such as consultancy and administration including rent, insurance, and utility bills.

Production costs such as venue hire, marketing, web design, printing costs, any cost that are associated with staging the production and promoting it.

Travel and assistance for individual team members with disabilities

You can state a contingency plan which is 5-10% of the total costs

3) In-Kind Contributions – This includes volunteered equipment and services that add value to a production. To the judging panel, this shows that backers have faith in your project. Note, only those services and equipment that are used will be considered in evaluating your application.

Examples included wavered fees in relation to venue hire, photography or marketing costs, together with donated equipment such as a PA system.

Final Thoughts on Applying for a Grant

It is important that the income/expenditure aspect of your application ties into the narrative part of your application. This will help the judges visualise your proposal and see the income and costs generated by it. Applications that don’t do this will probably be rejected.

Ensure income projections are realistic and try and provide proof of the figures you submit. Previous experience for example or income generated by similar projects can be used to support your application.

Ensure you apply for the right grant and request the right amount of funding. Lastly, don’t forget there is a deadline for applications so make sure you apply sooner rather than later.

The Malta Art Fund is an important part in developing Malta’s artistic side and so if you have an idea or a project and are wondering how to fund it. This could be the solution for you. In the first instance, you can take these steps to apply at Arts Council Malta and begin the process.

Good luck!