Pitch your wild idea

Artists, collaborate with kids at ArtPlay to bring your next creative project to life through the next round of our New Ideas Lab.

Artist Kathy Holowko worked with around 60 children to design a model city that considers animals as citizens in her recent New Ideas Lab project, Wild City.

The project was inspired by Kathy’s studies in the Netherlands, where ‘rewilding’, human-made pocket habitats and alterations to infrastructure are helping animals live in and move through urban landscapes.

Wild City is a positive and playful way to explore local ecological stories and to value the incredible animal networks in Australia’s ever-increasing urban areas,’ Kathy said.

‘The arts-based workshop gets children and parents thinking about these issues and what they can do within their own spaces to encourage wildlife habitats. The work then becomes a collaborative sculpture for exhibition.

‘This demonstrates how artistic expression, and collaboration with scientists and children, can create outcomes that communicate real conservation issues, and develop shared values to effect social change.’

One of Kathy’s favourite parts of the project was engaging with around 15 enthusiastic ecologists, rangers and researchers, many of whom were staff members of the City of Melbourne.

‘Many of these ‘eco experts’ delivered fascinating talks with the children for the ArtPlay workshops, and some children were even consulted for the Birrarung Marr Master Plan,’ Kathy said.

‘It was a great collaboration of the sciences and art, and quite heartening for me to meet so many engaged ecologists, and to hear about the great projects happening in our city.’

Kathy wants to deliver Wild City to as many children as she can, and invites potential collaborators to get in touch. She also encourages other artists to apply for the New Ideas Lab.

‘ArtPlay really is an amazing arts centre with brilliant staff in an inspiring environment,’ Kathy said.

‘The New Ideas Lab is a great opportunity to fully research and develop a project with children as collaborators, it is open to all art forms, and provides great funding and support.

‘There is support available if you’ve never worked with children before, and they are great fun to work with.’

Wild City went on to be included in the Incinerator Art Award Art for Social Change exhibition.

View a video about Wild City below.

Expressions of interest for the next New Ideas Lab open on 18 February. To find out more, visit ArtPlay.