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Metro Tunnel

Artist Pool Frequently Asked Questions

How can artists apply for the commissions?

Creative professionals will be asked to register for an Artist Pool.

Artists registered in the pool will then be invited to submit concepts for specific projects before commissions are awarded.

Who can apply?

To be eligible people must be able to demonstrate previous professional work in the arts industry, although prior experience in public art is not a requirement.

All applicants must be over the age of 18, have an ABN and live in Victoria.

The Metro Tunnel is calling for creative practitioners from all disciplines including, but not limited to: visual artists, illustrators, designers, poets, writers, essayists, performers, theatre, film and tv workers and musicians.

How long are registrations open for?

The first round of registrations will be open from 8am June 15 – 11.59pm July 13.

Why can’t I apply if I am under 18?

The Metro Tunnel Creative Program works with local educational institutions to ensure students have the opportunity to participate in the program. To date we have worked with VCA, RMIT and Melbourne Grammar.

What will the new commissions involve?

The Metro Tunnel Temporary Creative Program is offering around $150,000 in artist fees for a number of commissions in 2020 including:

  • City Square Shed artwork – a massive opportunity in the centre of the city to produce a painted artwork on the acoustic shed walls facing Swanston Street and Flinders Lane. Commission value: $45,000.
  • Melbourne Memories: notes to the city – 11 local authors or poets will be commissioned to write ‘love letters’ to the city. These will be bought to life by 11 different artists and displayed on the City Square construction hoardings. Commission value: $2,000 each.
  • Home / Work (working title) – 30 self-taken photographs provided by creative practitioners working from home. The images will be displayed on construction hoardings at the State Library Station precinct. Commission value: $500 each.
  • Quarantunes (working title) – seven musicians will be commissioned to create new songs and artworks to be displayed on construction hoardings at the Parkville Station precinct. Commission value: $4,000 each.
  • Several direct commissions for artworks that will be displayed in the Scott Alley laneway.

When will these new commissions be seen by the public?

The works will be displayed on the Metro Tunnel’s construction hoardings and other structures later in 2020 and in 2021, bringing some much-needed colour and life to Melbourne streets as the city prepares for a recovery period.

What artworks have been created under the Metro Tunnel Creative Program so far?

A wide range of artworks and performances have been commissioned so far under the program. Examples include:

  • Artworks by Miles Howard-Wilks from the Arts Project Australia Studio who support artists with intellectual disabilities.
  • Artworks by Melbourne Grammar, RMIT and Victorian College of Art students.
  • A storytelling project in the Parkville precinct that celebrates the ‘unsung heroes’ of the medical research and academic fields.
  • Works by First Nations artists including Josh Muir, Kelly Koumalatsos, Lyn-Al Young and Jarra Karalinar Steel.
  • Business and wayfinding signage creatively supporting business and assisting pedestrians on Flinders Street by Melbourne design company Weekdays.
  • ‘Tunnel / Vision’ musical performance composed by Bonnie Mercer as part of 2018 Melbourne Music Week.
  • A photo essay by Melbourne-based fine art photographer Kate Ballis celebrating the historical Nicholas Building and its talented tenants .

How does the Metro Tunnel Project select artists and collaborators for the Creative Program?

Artworks are commissioned in several ways, including call outs to community groups, individuals and cultural organisations. The Creative Program commissions a diverse range of artists from all cultural backgrounds, genders, and abilities, as well as emerging through to established artists.

The program also collaborates with project stakeholders including universities, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Federation Square on elements of the program.

How long is each artwork in place?

The works will be displayed on the Metro Tunnel’s construction hoardings and other structures later in 2020. Each temporary artwork will be in place for varying amounts of time, agreed to by Rail Projects Victoria (RPV), Cross Yarra Partnership (CYP) and the artist.

It is anticipated that artworks on construction hoardings will remain in place for around one year, whereas an event may run for a day and pop-up amenities may remain from several days to several years.

What happens to artwork once the Metro Tunnel is finished?

Depending on its condition – artworks are recycled, upcycled or occasionally returned to the artists. This is done a case-by-case basis.

Will there be any permanent works as part of the creative program?

The program also includes a Metro Tunnel Legacy Artwork Program, to commission permanent artworks that will be installed in the Metro Tunnel’s five new stations and one line-wide artwork which spans all five stations.

The commission for the line-wide work was recently awarded to one of Australia's pre-eminent multi-disciplinary artists, Maree Clarke.

Artists are also currently being shortlisted for artworks at each station, and a call is out for expressions of interest for a major work at Town Hall Station.