Artists, Performers, Musicians & Craftmakers Can Now Apply For PENJANA Funding Via CENDANA

The government has allocated RM10 million for the arts and culture sector.

Cover image via The Instant Café Theatre Company / Facebook & Cultural Economy Development Agency / Facebook

This Spotlight is sponsored by CENDANA.

It's been a tough few months for those who work in the arts and culture sector

A recent survey by the Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA) showed that 93% of arts and culture practitioners in Malaysia have been negatively affected by the pandemic, with 70% of them losing all or most of their income. This includes performing artists, visual artists, independent musicians, artisans, craft makers, and more. 

Besides that, many theatre venues and art galleries that rely on space rental, conducting classes, and ticket sales lost their revenue channels almost overnight when the Movement Control Order (MCO) came into effect.

Nevertheless, throughout the MCO, people have come up with innovative ways for us to enjoy the arts while we were stuck at home

For instance, ARTO Movement ran a virtual art exhibition called ‘VIRTUE(AL)’ that featured 83 artworks ranging from drawings and paintings to digital arts from 57 artists via open call.

Liver & Lung Productions also streamed a few of their productions like the popular Sepet The Musical and Malaya Relived: The Penang Riots on YouTube.

However, while some audiences tuned in for online shows including concerts (38%), theatre performances (22%), and dance (13%) throughout the MCO, the numbers were small and would not be able to keep arts practitioners afloat in the long run. Even though most cinemas, theatres, and events can now resume operations, the likelihood of people returning to live shows is still very low.

In light of this, the government has partnered with MyCreative Ventures and CENDANA to come up with a set of recovery initiatives to help the arts, culture, entertainment, and event industries adapt to the new normal

Under the goverment's PENJANA initiative, they have allocated RM190 million to benefit the creative industries via MyCreative Ventures. This includes RM10 million specifically for the arts and culture sector via CENDANA, with a focus on performing arts, visual arts, independent music, and craft. These initiatives under the PENJANA Plan for Creative Industries are supervised by the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.

The main objective of this fund is to enable creative industry practitioners and businesses to resume their creative activities and sustain their livelihood.

"Ultimately, the goal we’re pursuing is to keep our arts and culture sector intact. And that once when the worst of the pandemic is over and we start to find our legs again, the ecosystem is still there to support our artists and for Malaysians to respond," said founding CEO of CENDANA Izan Satrina Mohd Sallehuddin.

Since its inception in 2017, CENDANA’s efforts has seen support to more than 200 arts and culture activities, benefiting more than 5,000 Malaysian artists, cultural workers, and technical and support staff. 

Organisations like the Instant Café Theatre, Five Arts Centre, MyDance Alliance, Damansara Performing Arts Centre, and Good Kids were recent beneficiaries to CENDANA’s Arts Organisation Funding Programme.

Visual artists like Roslina Ismail (Lynne Ismail) and Ahmad Fuad Osman were beneficiaries to CENDANA’s Mobility and Sponsorship Funding Programmes; and musicians like Billie Blue & the Nowhere Men and Trophy Knives were beneficiaries to the Mobility and Development Funding Programmes.

If you are in the arts and culture sector, here are some of the initiatives and funding programmes you can apply for:

Image via CENDANA

Arts Organisation Resilience Funding Programme
- Supports up to RM150,000 per arts organisation for the duration of twelve (12) months.
- Provides support to registered artistic organisations, associations, and societies for arts continuity, development for resilience, and supporting sustainability.

Arts Venue Recovery Programme
- Supports up to RM35,000 per participating venue for the duration of six (6) months.
- To prepare, train, and transition venue owners to ensure a safe and healthy environment for audiences. Training costs are fully undertaken by CENDANA.

Performing Arts Presentation Funding Programme
- Supports up to RM30,000 for the duration of the project.
- Supports creation of work, development of practice, building networks, facilitation of arts projects, upskilling initiatives, as well as mobility and promotion of Malaysian made showcases.

CENDANA Craft Industry Choice
- Cash incentive amounting up to RM30,000 for Malaysian individual / collective / artisans, craft-makers and producers / organisations nationwide.
- To elevate the Malaysian handicrafts industry by offering recognition to artisans, craft makers, and producers of traditional arts, crafts and endangered trades.

Art in the City Public Art Commissioning Programme
- Supports up to RM100,000 per project.
- To commission Malaysian artists to create a unique public artwork or community art-based programmes that present opportunities for public art engagement.

Independent Music Funding Programme
- Supports up to RM30,000 for the duration of the project.

Visual Arts Showcase Funding Programme
- Supports up to RM30,000 for the duration of the project.

Visual Arts Inspire Funding Programme
- Supports up to RM15,000 for the journey and research; and up to RM30,000 for the follow-up exhibition.

Create Now Funding Programme
- Grants of up to RM1,500 per individual artist / cultural worker as well as artisans and craft-makers and RM3,500 per collective / arts organisation.

Do take note of these application dates, and head over to CENDANA's website for more information on all the funding programmes

Image via CENDANA

Not only that, various grants, loans, and trainings are also available on

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