Australia's largest outdoor sculpture exhibition, Sculpture by the Sea, is expected to attract about 500,000 visitors.
With a budget of around $2m, contributions by private sponsors have been vital to the success of the exhibition in previous years.
But with the global economic downturn, money has been drying up and substantial public funds have been added to the mix.
While most developed countries are slashing public spending, a more stable economy means Australia has thus far managed to avoid making big cuts.
However, a recent report suggests the country's apparent immunity from the financial crisis is no longer guaranteed.
Al Jazeera's Andrew Thomas reports from Sydney.