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Metro Tunnel

Metro Tunnel Legacy Artwork Program

The Metro Tunnel Legacy Artwork Program will provide world-class public art experiences for visitors and users of the Metro Tunnel, ensuring the stations are must-see destinations and enhancing Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s cultural capital.

About the program

We are commissioning six major permanent artworks which will take pride of place across the Metro Tunnel for many years to come.

These include five individual works for each of the tunnel's new stations (Arden, Parkville, State Library, Town Hall and Anzac) and one line-wide commission which will span all five stations. In January 2020, we announced First Nations artist Maree Clarke for the line-wide commission.

We are currently assessing shortlisted artists for the five individual station concepts, with consideration for the following curatorial themes:

  • Storytelling
  • Movement, repetition and time
  • Environment.

The successful artists are expected to be announced in the first half of 2021.

The Metro Tunnel Legacy Artwork Program and the Metro Tunnel Creative Program are guided by the Metro Tunnel Creative Strategy.

Maree Clarke at Anzac Station construction site

Read more about Maree Clarke (above), who is creating legacy artwork for all five Metro Tunnel stations.

Engagement with Traditional Owners

Metro Tunnel Project is working with Traditional Owners to ensure the artworks developed in the Legacy Artwork Program value and are respectful of the cultural knowledge and contributions of Traditional Owners.

We are engaging with the following Traditional Owner groups:

  • Wurundjeri
  • Boon Wurrung
  • Bunurong.

Learnings and insights from these Traditional Owner groups will inform the development of both the permanent station artworks in the Metro Tunnel and the line-wide commission.

Frequently Asked Questions

Public artworks have made metro stations must-see destinations in world cities such as London, Naples and Stockholm.

As Australia’s cultural capital, where the creative industries contribute billions of dollars to the Victorian economy every year, it is fitting that we take the opportunity to include world-class art in Melbourne’s new metro stations.

At Arden Station, the artwork will be located on the eastern façade of the station building, adjacent Laurens Street. This presents an opportunity for an artist to work at an architectural scale with tiled panels or patterning.

For Parkville Station, the artwork will be located in the public concourse under Grattan Street. The artist is encouraged to engage with the biophilic design of the station and the themes of medicine, bioscience and wellbeing, which are particularly relevant to the Parkville precinct.

At State Library Station, a glazed wall at the main entrance on the corner of Swanston and La Trobe streets presents an opportunity for an artist to work at an architectural scale with glass and light.

At Town Hall Station, the large, vaulted public concourse under City Square presents an opportunity for an artist to create an elevated artwork. The artwork will be an important cultural marker viewed by thousands of commuters who will pass through Town Hall Station daily.

For Anzac Station, the artwork will be located in the underground concourse connecting Albert Road Reserve and the Shrine Reserve. Artists have been asked to consider the surrounding parkland and ceremonial setting of the station and may choose to work with themes relevant to the Anzac precinct.

For the line-wide commission, there are opportunities to work with a line-wide material palette of visual components, common fixtures, fittings and finishes to create a series of artistic expressions that will repeat across all five stations.

The line-wide commission will be one artwork which spans all five stations and will be created by Aboriginal artist Maree Clarke. It is an opportunity to consider the passenger experience from concourse to platform alongside the sense of place and identity at each station.

Maree Clarke will work with Melbourne’s Traditional Owners to explore Indigenous narratives and stories that reflect the local character of each of the station precincts, but also speak to the experience of journey and travel across Melbourne.

Shortlisted artists for the Legacy Artwork Program are under a competitive evaluation process. In fairness to the artists involved in the process we keep this information confidential.

We will announce the selected artists once the formal commissioning process is complete and the artists have begun detailed design.

Artworks for the Legacy Artwork Program are being commissioned by direct invitation as well as through open expressions of interest.

  • Commissions for the Arden, State Library and Town Hall stations were via an open call for expressions of interest.
  • Commissions for Parkville and Anzac Stations will be invited proposals.
  • The line-wide commission was via expressions of interest from Aboriginal artists only.

Following the expression of interest and direct invitation processes, artists will be shortlisted by the Metro Tunnel Arts Advisory Panel. Final decisions will be made by Rail Projects Victoria.

We are looking for a wide range of artists including painters, sculptors, installation and multimedia artists.

There are three main curatorial themes:

  • Storytelling – invites artists to consider and explore people and place, celebrate the contemporary stories of everyday Melbourne, and look to new generations and possible future stories.
  • Movement, Repetition and Time – artists are encouraged to explore ideas that relate to commuting, underground rail networks, urban transportation and the mass-transit experience.
  • The Environment and Biophilic Design – bringing nature down and into the metro system, opening up the opportunity to connect with nature daily.

The six permanent legacy artwork commissions have been allocated a budget of between $655,000 and $1,205,000. This is inclusive of artist fees, design development and artwork fabrication.

The cost for commissioning, developing and installing the legacy art across the five stations is funded by the Cross Yarra Partnership, as part of the Tunnels and Stations package of works.

All artists engaged through the Metro Tunnel Legacy Artwork Program will be paid for their work. Shortlisted artists who proceed to interview/concept stage will be paid honorariums and the final selected artists will be paid commission artist fees.

Expressions of interest and invitations for participating artists are now closed.

In January 2020, Maree Clarke was named the line-wide artist who will develop artworks across all five Metro Tunnel stations.

The Metro Tunnel Project is currently finalising details on the five station artwork commissions. The successful precinct artists are expected to be announced in the first half of 2021.

Fabrication and installation of the artworks is scheduled to begin from 2022, dependent on construction and installation timelines.

All artworks are scheduled for completion before the Metro Tunnel is due to open in 2025.

Metro Tunnel Arts Advisory Panel

The Metro Tunnel Arts Advisory Panel provides advice on artist selection for the Legacy Artwork Program. The panel includes:

  • Professor Donald Bates – Director of LAB Architecture Studio, Lead Architect of Federation Square and Associate Dean (Engagement) and Chair of Architectural Design at The University of Melbourne
  • Max Delany – CEO and Artistic Director of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art; and Adjunct Associate Professor, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Monash University
  • Professor Natalie King – Prominent Victorian curator with over two decades of experience in international contemporary art; Enterprise Professorial Fellow, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne
  • Kimberley Moulton – Senior Curator South Eastern Aboriginal Collections, First Peoples Department, Melbourne Museum, Museums Victoria.

Two members from Rail Projects Victoria, one from Creative Victoria and one from the Office of the Victorian Government Architect are also represented on the panel.

More information

For more information on the Metro Tunnel Legacy Artwork Program, please email legacyartprogram@metrotunnelcyp-dc.com.au.