Artist Development

Blue laser beams shoot randomly between the tops of buildings in the night-time skyline of Melbourne's CBD

Melbourne Civic Commission

Melbourne Fringe, in partnership with the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, is thrilled to announce a new annual commission of $100K, offered to a Victorian artist or collective to create a major public artwork for the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Each year (starting in 2022) one huge, ground-breaking artwork idea will be commissioned, providing a signature piece that invigorates the city streets and blows the minds of Melburnians.

The Melbourne Civic Commission must respond to three provocations: participation, place, and design. Beyond that, the only limit is your imagination! The work could run for one day, one minute, or the whole length of the Festival. In any case, it needs to be bold and impactful. It’s really gotta say something.

Read on or watch the Auslan video for all the details.

Who is it for?

The commission is open to Victorian independent artists, small companies or collectives. It’s a huge undertaking, one of exciting ambition and scale, so is best suited to mid-career or established artists with experience in creating complex public work. We invite creative thinkers of all disciplines – installation, live art, performance, visual art, music, architecture, design, moving image, digital media… or something completely new, yet-to-be-dreamed-of.

Applications from First Nations artists, culturally and linguistically diverse artists, and artists who identify as Deaf or disabled are especially welcome.

The first commission will be premiered during 6 – 23 October 2022 as a signature work for the Melbourne Fringe Festival. The following commissions, each of $100K, will be presented as signature works for the 2023 and 2024 Festivals.

How do we apply?

Reckon this is for you? We want this process to be as artist-friendly as possible, so the application process is a simple, two-stage affair. First, fill out this form with some basic details covering you and your proposal. This form must be completed by the stroke of midnight on Sunday 5 September.

Before we go on: Melbourne Fringe believes in access and inclusion. If the following process is not accessible to you, then please email us at and suggest an alternative. Accessible alternatives could be applying via audio files, spoken video or Auslan video or something else. We are open to your ideas around process. However, we cannot change the timeframes – you’ll still need to get your proposal in by midnight on Sunday 5 September.

Apply Now
Then what happens?

Our expert panel Caroline Bowditch, Elaine Chia and Wesley Enoch AM will, together with Melbourne Fringe CEO and Creative Director Simon Abrahams and Naomi Milgrom Foundation CEO Sam Redston, interview our finalists and select the commissioned artist will sit down and read your submissions. They’ll consider how the work responds to the provocations, and how the proposal has addressed the selection criteria. Then, the shortlisted projects will be invited to Stage 2, where the panel will meet with artists to further discuss the proposal. There’s one thing to note here: you need to be available for Stage 2 interviews on Friday 12 November. Your availability this day is essential, so block it out in your diary now.

After much deliberation, jugs of coffee and lively discussion, the Naomi Milgrom Foundation and the team at Melbourne Fringe will select a recipient following the recommendation of the panel. We’ll notify the applicant in late-November, then celebration and champagne (or something else fizzy) will ensue.

Key Dates

Monday 2 August 2021: Applications open

6pm, Monday 9 August: Live online Q&A session on Zoom with Simon Abrahams, Creative Director and CEO, Melbourne Fringe. If you missed it, watch it here.

11:59pm Sunday 5 September: Applications close

Friday 12 November: Stage 2 Artist Discussions held.

Friday 26 November: Public announcement of the inaugural Melbourne Civic Commission award.

6 – 23 October 2022: Premiere of inaugural commission as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2022.

The next two commissions to be presented in 2023 and 2024 during the Melbourne Fringe Festival. The call-out for the 2023 commission will be in early 2022.

Want more info?

Download this info pack for further details on this, quite frankly, incredible opportunity. Click here for plain text version. If you missed the Q&A session with Simon Abrahams you can watch a recording of it below.

Download Info Pack


And if you still have questions, email and we’ll be in touch.

Now put those creative brains to work!