The First Call Fund: How Arts Centre Melbourne strives to improve access to the Arts for everyone

The arts can empower, challenge and inspire us. However, unfortunately there are barriers that make it difficult for many to participate in the arts, such as:

  • Location
  • Socio-economic disadvantage
  • Cultural or community diversity
  • Special learning needs
  • Localised issues (such as drought, bushfire or high levels of unemployment)
  • Perceptions about the arts and who can participate

The First Call Fund was created by Arts Centre Melbourne to help remove just these kinds of barriers that might prevent some Victorians from participating in the arts. The Fund provides support specifically to schools and community groups so they can experience the huge variety of live performances, workshops and other participatory events at Arts Centre Melbourne.

Since the First Call Fund was established in 2008 thanks to the incredible generosity of Arts Centre Melbourne's philanthropic supporters, it has continued to grow through the generosity of the many different Victorians who share our belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to engage with the arts in a meaningful way.

Why is access to the arts important?

The arts can broaden our experience, our empathy and our understanding of the world. Arts Centre Melbourne believes everyone has the right to experience the wonder of the arts. In particular, students, young people and those with social disadvantage can benefit greatly from exposure to the arts. International research* shows arts participation can impact positively on:

  • Social and personal development
  • Attitude to learning
  • Connectedness to community and family
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Arts knowledge and skills
  • General competencies such as communicating, problem solving, planning, organisation and perseverance.

*Dr Mary Ann Hunter (2005) Education and the Arts, Australia Council for the Arts

How does the fund help

The First Call Fund can help to cover the cost of tickets, transport and other costs associated with a visit to Arts Centre Melbourne. The Fund also provides a means for ongoing engagement with the State's largest performing arts centre, leading to greater benefits from the arts experiences it provides. It is available to any Victorian school or community group that meets the selection criteria.

Please note: While the First Call Fund exists for those who need it, we are not able to assess applications directly from individuals. Our First Call Fund relationships are built with schools and organisations that represent individuals and families and who access the Fund on their behalf.

Who can I contact with any questions?

Phone: (03) 9281 8582
Email: firstcallfund@artscentremelbourne.com.au