Art in abundance

Dance in the Royal Botanic Gardens, learn about the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers, and introduce your baby to opera through just a few of the artistic projects we’re supporting next year.

Fifty-nine funded projects will be brought to life in 2019 by more than 1800 local artists thanks to our annual arts grants program. That equates to 925 days of arts activity in our city next year.

From theatre, dance, music and circus, to writing, multimedia and visual art – there are thought-provoking creative experiences for everyone to enjoy. And 75 per cent of events are free to attend.

We invited three artists to share a bit more about their funded works.

A person dancing

Jo Lloyd is a dance artist who uses choreography as a social encounter
Credit: Tina Havelock Stevens

Jo Lloyd
Garden Dance

Watch 10 dancers perform outdoors in the Royal Botanic Gardens in a work that investigates how a grid system is used to ‘tame’ a city. There will also be movement workshops for the public.

‘I am interested in using language to provide a way for all able bodies to attempt the choreographic perimeters, and shift hierarchies,’ Jo said.

‘This will also allow for a leakage between performer and audience, allowing for the public environment of the botanic gardens to provide a place and permission for private behaviour in dance.

‘I am thrilled to be developing this work in the gardens and often think of architect Louis Kahn’s quote with the words: ‘consult nature’… and this will be a time to do so.’

A person throwing a chair

‘The Audition’ will explore the parallels between life as an actor, and life as an asylum seeker

Irine Vela, Outer Urban Projects
The Audition

Experience a new dramatic work with original music that explores the lives of four people and their twin identities as artists and asylum seekers.

‘The asylum seeker, just like the actor, becomes expert at being patient with a force that is able to keep them waiting without having their hopes dashed,’ said Irine.

‘This is the liminal space that we will explore in The Audition, and that in our ordinary lives we all are waiting for something to free us from isolation or despair.

‘We hope the performance will facilitate the audience to interrogate the protocols and power relationships of the audition process to uncover how much we understand of what it means to seek asylum.’

A baby watching a performer in wonder

‘Giant Little Arias’ is an immersive opera experience for babies and their carers

Sarah Austin and Co
Giant Little Arias

Bring your babies aged up to 12 months to enjoy an opera experience that explores four of the art form’s central narrative themes: love, loss, despair and hope.

‘This work will provide a performance journey for both adult audience member and baby,’ Sarah said.

‘Unlike traditional theatre where you would be seated in the dark auditorium, this work will build a world for audience member to inhabit, with the story and experience of the work happening around them.

‘Neuroscience tells us that an astonishing amount of brain development occurs in the child’s first three years of life.

‘We believe that it is therefore crucial to provide quality cultural and creative experiences for the very young that encourage curiosity, sensitivity, thoughtfulness and beauty.’

This is the 20th anniversary of our annual arts grants program, and we’ve awarded more than $800,000 this year.

For each dollar we spend, Melbourne’s economy gets a 363 per cent return.

To find out more, visit Annual arts grants program.