In December, the Australian arts world reacted with fury to the news that the arts had been demotedin Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s restructuring of the public service, and was being merged into a department that didn’t even include its name – the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

But that didn’t stop the arts community from immediately stepping forward to raise funds to help the people and wildlife affected by the catastrophic bushfires that have been raging across Australia since November. Artists from every genre – from comedian Celeste Barber, who has raised an astonishing $50 million through her Facebook appeal, to actors like Chris Hemsworth, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, to authors via a viral Twitter campaign #AuthorsForFireys, to umpteen pop stars – have dug deep into their own pockets or organised bushfire benefits.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will raise funds for the Red Cross at its first Sidney Myer Free Concert. Photograph courtesy of the MSO

Classical musicians around the country have also joined forces to raise funds and offer other forms of support. Members of Sydney’s classical music community are presenting the Music for our Country...

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