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 2023) 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 as a signature work for the 2023 Melbourne Fringe Festival. The following commissions, each of $100K, will be presented as signature works for the 2024 and 2025 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.

Applications will open in early 2022, but if you’d like a head start on what to expect, take a look at this form from 2021.

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. 

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 a specific date, to be communicated as soon as possible. Your availability this day is essential.

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, then celebration and champagne (or something else fizzy) will ensue.

Key Dates

Key dates for the 2023 commission will be released in February 2022.

The next two commissions to be presented in 2024 and 2025 during the Melbourne Fringe Festival. 

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. Please note: There resources talk about 2021/2022 dates, which we know are a little out of date. But the rest of the info should get you started 🙂

Download Info Pack


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

Now put those creative brains to work!