The Australia Council for the Arts has announced the results of its latest project grant round representing $7.2 million of investment in Australian arts. In total, 270 projects have received funding as part of the first of three grant rounds for 2017, including $2.7 million for 158 individuals, $0.9 million for 36 groups, and $3.6 million for 76 arts organisations, many of which fall into the vulnerable small-to-medium category.

The major winners include Australian Dance Awards organisers and art form advocates Ausdance ($50,000) and aerial theatre giants Legs on the Wall ($96,079) – a welcome result for one of the companies “de-funded” as a result of the 2015 Federal budget cuts. Other sizeable grants went to Austistic theatre pioneers Company AT ($47,820), Sydney’s Monkey Baa theatre for young audiences ($53,602), Melbourne puppetry company Snuff Puppets ($52,693) Queensland community participatory arts outfit All the Queens Men ($39,000), South Australian political documentary makers Tallstoreez Productionz ($100,000) and the Sharing Stories Foundation who aim to help Indigenous communities to protect, maintain and grow language, stories and cultural heritage ($99,500).

“The Council’s grants programme supports all facets of the creative process, enabling Australian artists to undertake professional development, create new work through individual and collaborative processes, and present their work to audiences in all parts of Australia and across the globe,” said Australia Council CEO Tony Grybowski, highlighting the competitive nature of the grants round and adding that he was pleased to see the new model continuing to support a diverse range of activity and attracting a large number of new applicants.

He also flagged that the findings of the Council’s third National Arts Participation Survey will be released in late June. “They tell a compelling story about the role of the arts in the lives of Australians, one that reinforces the importance of this type of investment,” he said.

Individual musicians receiving funding this time around include Iain Grandage, Matthew Hindson, Catherine Milliken, Katie Noonan and Rosalind Page, while significant grants go to Sydney Chamber Opera ($75,100) and Central Australian Singing ($88,6050). ELISION and Flinders Quartet were also recognised.

Among the successful dance companies are The Contemporary Dance Company of Western Australia ($94,000) and Sydney-based choreographic research and dance development outfit Critical Path ($97,377) while Melbourne’s Fringe does well ($50,000) and its Next Wave Festival receives $100,000.

Last week the Australia Council also announced $3.2 million in funding which has been invested through Playing Australia, the Contemporary Touring Initiative and the Contemporary Music Touring Programme.

With new applicants making up 32% of the February grant round, and one in five successful applications coming from first time applicants, the Australia Council suggests that the new model is attracting the attention of a wider range of arts companies. Additionally, statistics provided demonstrate 21% of funding was awarded to applicants in regional and remote areas, while 39% of the successful applicants had an international component to their project.

In total, 115 peers assessed this round, including 22% from regional and remote areas. Fifteen percent of the peer assessors identified as being culturally and linguistically diverse and 19% identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.