Melbourne as a creative city will take risks to break new ground. We will be bold and inspirational in our encouragement of the creative and the enterprising. We will fuel the imagination of all.
Future Melbourne 2008


The key issue identified in this Priority was the need for more and sustained funding of the arts. This was for both small arts and the commissioning of large art pieces. Support was also discussed in the form of provision of space for artists to perform in. Broad outcomes from the arts that benefit the wider community were also discussed.

There was little specific comment on how Melbourne arts or the community should take risk.

There was significant overlap between this Priority and Priority 2.2. Vibrant, Creative Community.

Summary of ideas (total 253 Statements)

Funding, grants and education (78 Statements)

Several people suggested a need for increased funding, grants and inclusion of arts education. A large number of people stressed the need to provide increased and sustained funding, particularly to the small and medium scale arts sector. This was one comment about arts investment.

Investment in cultural spaces, grants for artists and a commitment to keeping the arts flourishing in Melbourne - it's what makes this city great!

Several people saw need for providing arts funding on a large scale. These included commissioning public art, as well as increasing the amount of funding available to encourage artists across the city. Some people also emphasised the need for funding that was sustained, so that different art forms become sustainable within the city.

Not only did people see funding as an important way to support the arts within Melbourne, but they also saw the need to provide artists with other kinds of support. These included creating opportunities and encouraging innovative artists or art organisations who take risks. Some of the ideas expressed included providing subsidised accommodation and subsidising art venues for exhibits and performances.

Artists need strategic initiates that enable them to live, work and create art viably within the city. Perhaps Council could support an initiative that provides live/work studios for artists on long-term leases in the city, such as has been done in other places around the world to ensure artists aren’t pushed out and they can continue to contribute to the creativity of the city.

Some people mentioned the necessity to provide more grants and funding to art education, both within schools and higher education.

More grant provided to design students -- many art and design students don't have enough money to buy materials to make art or be creative. Please provide more scholarship or grant to those that work hard and are keen to make our community better by making art

Overall, a large number of people agreed that more funding, as well as sustained funding to different art sectors would encourage more artists to make Melbourne home, and increase innovation and production.

Providing Space (79 Statements)

Overall, many people agreed that artists and their audience need affordable ways to create and consume art. This means more affordable work and living spaces for artists, and free or affordable ways for audiences to enjoy art works (e.g. community art hubs).

Art in public space -- Bring the city to life throughout the year with art and cultural events in public space. A focus on building capacity for young and emerging artists and creating pathways into sustainable arts careers

A large number of people felt the need to create more arts venues and outlets - both permanent and temporary, within the Melbourne CBD. For example, one conversation brought up the idea of creating a heritage walk mapping the history of local music and musicians within the city. Another thread of conversations expressed the need to create a new space to encourage local theatre and playwrights to present their work. A few people also thought that including digital technology, such as attaching smart phone applications and QR codes to public art, would improve the art experience within Melbourne.

A few people felt that reinvigorating disused or abandoned city sites, such as the Docklands, would help create more spaces for artists to exhibit, or perform their work.

Maybe some of the 'dead' spaces around Docklands could be reinvigorated with artists studios and other creative endeavours, in the style/spirit of Renew Newcastle

A few people felt that street art, such as graffiti, gave Melbourne a unique identity. Making more spaces legal for such street art would help create more venues for public art.

One conversation, of 16 comments, discussed encouraging the production and consumption of community radio shows. Several of these comments indicated that community radio was one of the best in Australia, and provided its citizens with a voice. Some saw community radio as a good alternative to commercial radio, often highlighting issues and talent that might be neglected by commercial radio. In this sense, some people saw community radio as better reflecting diverse interests and enhancing the cultural aspects of the city.

Art as a vehicle for other outcomes (27 Statements)

Art was seen by a large number of people as being the vehicle for other outcomes. Four major themes emerged within this discussion. One was how a variety of art forms created ways to encourage dialogues on various social issues, such as climate change and social inclusion. The second was the economic contributions, both direct and indirect, that come from developing Melbourne as an artistic city. The third was how public art increased a sense of wellbeing within the community. The fourth expressed how an artistic approach could provide creative solutions to civic problems, such as better cycling lanes etc.

Many people saw art as an important platform to create awareness around social and environmental issues. For instance, art works commissioned on the theme of climate change, and installed in public spaces, would draw the public’s attention to the issue.

Inspirational Art to promote change -- Communicating climate change solutions is challenging. By commissioning and installing art throughout the city on the theme of climate change and sustainability we can generate increased awareness and reduce barriers to change. And the city would be more attractive

Arts works of this nature, if commissioned, could also bring awareness on other social issues such as social inclusion of people across gender, sexuality, ethnicity etc.

Several people mentioned the important contribution that the arts make to Melbourne’s economy. These included not only income, through the direct selling and buying of art, but also by encouraging art-related tourism.

It is the embrace of arts and culture in the broadest sense that has given Melbourne its competitive advantage. Risk, is at the heart of that - new stories our stories in all their diversity. All this is at the heart of Melbourne's economic growth - attracting businesses, residents, students, tourists. Creative industries are the fastest growing sector of the Victorian economy. Melbourne has always lead cultural change. Keep that going.

A few people stated that encouraging public art led to an increased sense of health and well-being for the community in general. Some people also expressed that artists, and generally an artistic approach, could provide creative solutions to civic problems. One idea, for instance, discussed how a collaboration between musicians and acoustic engineers could result in infrastructural fixtures to reduce the noise levels within the city.

Brief supportive statements (69 Statements)

There was a large number of brief, few word statements, which were supportive of the arts in Melbourne. This is one statement, similar to many others.

This is a beautiful, cultured and artistic city with many assets,