Thirteen creative endeavours across New England will receive a boost to their bank accounts thanks to the second round of Arts North West Micro Grants program - and five of them are in Armidale.
"Due to COVID 19, cutbacks were made on normal spending, giving Arts North West the opportunity to offer the second round of funding to the New England North West region," said Arts North West executive director, Caroline Downer.
"The application process was identical to the first round, with a tight turnaround time for applications, but the New England North West responded enthusiastically, submitting numerous applications, for an array of creative projects, and also creative needs."
Bronwyn Clarke is an award winning author based in Armidale who writes under the pen name of Bronwyn Parry - she says COVID-19 has changed the way she connects with her audience and promotes her work.
"COVID has meant events and conferences have been cancelled, which impacts on my ability to meet with readers and other writers and to promote my books," Ms Clarke said.
"Due to some underlying health issues I will be unable to commit to travel to regions with a COVID risk for quite some time, including being unable to travel to the US to promote the American editions of my romantic suspense novels."
Promotion and reader engagement, and participation in the writing community have been impacted Ms Clarke says, with associated financial and professional costs.
"The long-term nature of the challenges necessitates a new approach to reader engagement and professional activity," she said.
"I applied for the grant to purchase a camera suitable for recording short videos for YouTube and other social media, as a way of keeping in touch with readers and providing advice to aspiring writers."
Ms Clarke aims to produce and publish at least four edited videos of around 10 minutes in length before the end of the year.
Three of these will be to promote her work, and one will be to help aspiring writers hone their skills.
All Bronwyn Parry's novels have been shortlisted for (or won) national or international writing awards, with her most recent novel 'The Clothier's Daughter' winning the historical category of the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year Award last month.
"It was evident after the first round of Micro Grants that there was a strong demand in our region for assistance during these difficult times" said Ms Downer
"More often than not, grant applications come with a lot complexities and processes.
"The beauty of our Micro Grants is that we are able to assist creatives from our region in a myriad of ways including the purchasing of equipment, professional development, creative workshops, through an incredibly simple and quick application process."
The other successful Armidale applicants are David Allan, Isabelle Devos, The Musicians of Armidale Inc and the New England Writers' Centre.
They join fellow successful New England candidates Art Life Studio in Inverell; Gunnedah Eisteddfod Society Inc; Rams Gully Workshops in Walcha; Loren Ryan Music, Roger (Buddy) Knox, Maryanne Piper, and the Tamworth Art Collective; as well as Sally Alden Photography in Liverpool Plains.
Ms Downer said the funding aim was to be as flexible as possible.
"The Arts North West Micro Grants were designed to support the continuation of locally determined community arts and cultural practice in uncertain times," she said.
"Projects do not require a specific outcome but can focus on skills development or capacity-building."