Art on the wild side

Discover jazz in the laneways, circus in the gardens and literature around every corner in our city this winter.

As a City of Culture, we proudly nurture our community’s exceptional creativity through our Triennial Arts Grants Program, providing ongoing funding to major and emerging arts organisations.

Jennifer Kerr, CEO of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, said three-year funding allows the festival to secure major international artists and nurture Australian talent.

‘The funding means we can take artistic risks, present a range of experiences for the hard-core jazz fan and the curious first-timer, and to activate a range of great venues throughout the city,’ Jennifer said.

‘Most importantly, it means that nearly 50 per cent of our program in the City of Melbourne is free.’

This year’s free program includes the Jazz Massive jam on the lawn of the State Library, free lunchtime concerts, Sound Walks through the central city and a gospel choir in Southern Cross Lane.

‘I’m all for bringing jazz out of the clubs and into the streets, and giving people the chance to experience jazz in different ways,’ Jennifer said.

Supporting the arts not only enhances Melbourne’s cultural identity, but also stimulates our economy and creates a lively city experience for locals and visitors alike.

‘I’m all for bringing jazz out of the clubs and into the streets.’

And few events are livelier than the spectacular acrobatics and physical comedy offered by Circus Oz, an Australian institution now in its 40th year.

Lou Oppenheim, General Manager of Circus Oz, said the troupe’s new show Precarious will be staged in a brand new location. Look out for the big top in the Royal Botanic Gardens these school holidays.

‘Circus Oz is proud to be part of the cultural landscape in Melbourne, and we are always delighted to find new partners in our home town who share our dreams and aspirations,’ Lou said.

‘This new opportunity will give our audiences the chance to explore a beautiful part of our city and take in a contemporary circus show, making for a joyful day out with family and friends.

‘The City of Melbourne has been a long-standing partner and friend of Circus Oz, and we have valued their support in reaching audiences of all ages.’

In a world of ever-evolving creative mediums, the Triennial Arts Grants program also aims to support the ongoing development of our artistic community.

Izzy Roberts-Orr, Artistic Director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, said the festival sees more than 300 featured artists and 12,000 audience members descend on Melbourne.

‘The Emerging Writers’ Festival welcomes storytellers working in every discipline, from books to zines, filmmaking and spoken word. We’re now in our 15th year,’ Izzy said.

‘Ninety per cent of our attendees are practicing writers and most of the rest are industry folks, so it’s a very concentrated environment of interactive industry conversations.’

‘Grant funding is core to the inclusivity and diversity of our programming.’

The packed program features writing workshops scheduled around working hours, intensive workshops for playwrights at Melbourne Theatre Company, and a focus on electronic literature.

‘Grant funding is core to the inclusivity and diversity of our programming,’ Izzy said.

‘We create spaces that can help all storytellers establish their careers, including First Nations writers, writers with a disability, women and non-binary writers and the full spectrum of queer voices.

‘The festival is a temporary thing, but the threads it creates are far more wide-reaching and support people to make great art into the future.’

1 to 10 June

19 to 29 June

29 June to 15 July

A group of circus performers

Expect live music, physical comedy and spectacular acrobatics in ‘Precarious’ by Circus Oz


Young people in a panel discussion

Celebrate diverse storytellers during the Emerging Writers’ Festival