Culture and heritage

New arts grants: be inspired by 10 success stories

A person holding a glittered cat in their open palm.

Develop an amazing new creative work with an arts grant of up to $20,000. 

Whether you compose, paint, sculpt, dance, write, perform, film or produce work unlike anything else, we’re offering funding to make your project happen in the City of Melbourne. 

Applications to our 2023 Annual Arts Grants program will open on Monday 2 May and close on Wednesday 15 June.

To get inspired, check out 10 projects we funded in the last round. 

1. Mulch
Lichen Kelp

Experience a picnic of immersive, biocentric live art at MPavilion on Saturday 23 April. Relax, sit back and hear about the Queen Victoria Gardens in all its forms, including its non-human inhabitants, through performances, live music, talks and walking tours. Mulch is an ongoing project that explores plant/human relationships through collaborations with artists, gardeners, plants and pollinators.

2. Larry Leadbeater: Fairy Possum, Friend and Muse
Jo Watson

Step behind-the-scenes of children’s picture book Larry Leadbeater (an adorable but rather fussy fairy possum who seriously needs a new home) in this exhibition. Explore creator Jo Watson’s journey from digitally disrupted television writer to novice illustrator and picture book creator and consider the connection between purpose, passion and inspiration. At Library at The Dock from Wednesday 27 April to Thursday 19 May. For more information, visit What’s On Melbourne.

3. CAVES Guest Curator Program

Head to the historic Nicholas Building to see an inclusive program of exhibitions by new voices. The current exhibition, Platform for Shared Praxis by Jesse Hogan, unites fragments of projects by Japanese and Australian artists into a single multi-medium installation. See it until Saturday 23 April at CAVES Gallery in the Nicholas Building. 

4. Taking Up Space: Love Letters to our Queer Bodies
Bo Bickmore

Wander through a multi-artform exhibit showcasing the work of more than 30 queer writers, artists, and creatives. Write a love letter to your body and see the artists’ share theirs through drag, performance, paint, photography, fashion and more. At Meat Market from Friday 29 April to Sunday 1 May.  

5. Ailan Songs
Jessie Lloyd

Hear Australian Indigenous songs from the early to mid-20th century. Jessie Lloyd engages through intimate storytelling, moving melodies, and historical insights, using humour and truth to share the voices of Elders, as they would around a kitchen table or warm campfire. The Ailan songs (island songs) visual album launches on Mabo Day, Friday 3 June.  

6. Rain
Samuel Gaskin

Keep an eye out on Thursday 28 April for the release of this cross-cultural, multi-artform music video that fuses Indigenous cultures from Aotearoa, New Zealand and Te Whēnua Moemoeā (Land of the Dreamtime), Australia. The digital performance work, created by Samuel Gaskin and his team, will also serve as a trailer for a future live show in Melbourne.

7. Ingwenthe
Stone Motherless Cold (Tre Turner) 

Ingwenthe (ing-oon-tha), which means ‘tomorrow’ in Arrernte, is a week-long Blak futurism queer art exhibition. The utopian garden will feature live performances, music, drag, dance, ‘the Fae’ film, costumes and an installation of visual artworks of different mediums from local Blak queer artists. Stay tuned for the event details later this year.

8. Other Body Knowledge
Jane Trengove and Katie Ryan

Explore a collaborative, intergenerational exhibition and public program at KINGS Artist-Run’s new wheelchair-accessible venue in West Melbourne this September. The Other Body Knowledge project explores Deaf and disabled artists’ lived experiences. 

9. In the Dark My Heart Beats Fast
Kate Disher-Quill

Discover the relationship between Deafness and sound, and between technology and the fragility of the human condition, through this multidisciplinary project by Kate Disher-Quill. This collaboration between artists, researchers, scientists, industry and community explores how the ‘two worlds’ can intersect in a way that embodies inclusion. Stay tuned for event details.

10. PROJECT F #2
Prue Lang

Watch a new dance film by top local choreographer Prue Lang. Coming soon to Chunky Move, this work is a kinaesthetic engagement with feminism, felt via a particular focus on female figures from the 12th century until now. It uses parallel stories and music from historic and modern-day trailblazing women – Hildegard von Bingen (born in 1102) and Princess Nokia (born in 1992) – as provocations to explore notions of feminist utopia, in choreographic terms.             

More inspiration

Check out these videos of singer-songwriter Akosia and painter John Neeson, who have also received arts grants from the City of Melbourne.

Find out more

We award annual arts grants to artists and small to medium arts organisations from all backgrounds and abilities in three categories: arts projects, Aboriginal arts projects, and arts residencies. 

Support will be considered for one-off projects, a specific component of an annual program or a creative development that results in a public outcome within the City of Melbourne boundaries. 

Projects presented online and creative developments without a public outcome will also be eligible if they can demonstrate a connection to the City of Melbourne. 

For more information, visit Arts Grants. 

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