City of Stonnington boosts culture grants

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Raphael Morris

Applications open soon for the City of Stonnington’s Arts and Cultural Grants Program.
City of Stonnington boosts culture grants

​Motor-mouth Loves Suck-face, Chapel Off Chapel, 2016 (Image Supplied).

The ancient Athenian statesman Solon believed that the Muses – a set of nine goddesses who represented the various artistic pursuits – were key to the good life. Over two and a half thousand years later, cities around the world have heeded his words, implementing programs to bolster the arts and culture throughout communities. The timeless wisdom that keenly perceived the role of the arts in civic prosperity remains just as relevant today as when first it was spoken.


The City of Stonnington’s annual Arts and Cultural Grants Program is one manifestation of the many attempts to act on this principle.

 ‘The program is an important way to foster artistic talent and get the community engaged in activities in Stonnington,’ said City of Stonnington Mayor Jami Klisaris.

 The City of Stonnington has dedicated $415,000 to the program, designed to support arts and cultural organisations and projects in Stonnington over the 2017-2018 financial year. This is an increase of over $30,000 from the funds allocated for last year, corresponding to growing recognition of the importance of arts and culture and greater emphasis being placed on it as a high priority.

Investing in arts activity is a key reason the City of Stonnington attracts so many visitors and an important asset for the vitality of traders and other businesses, who appreciate and support the vibrant arts community.

All art forms are eligible for grants, including performing and visual arts, literature, music, film and design. Grants are also available for community events and festivals. Applicants for grants need not be Stonnington residents, provided the project takes place within the City of Stonnington.

‘This year, we’re looking for applications from organisations and art-based initiatives that want to present high quality, dynamic and innovative Stonnington-based activities to enhance the cultural and economic development of our city,’ said Klisaris. ‘We encourage initiatives that enhance the quality of life and wellbeing of Stonnington residents but also support the local economy by attracting visitors to the area.’

Recipients of grants for the 2016-2017 financial year service a huge range of audiences. Polyglot Theatre, a participatory theatre company designed for young children and families, was one recipient. Another was Melbourne Cabaret Limited, which runs the Melbourne Cabaret Festival. The grant enabled the Festival to secure a new festival hub, expand its line-up, and grow festival attendance by 15% to an audience of nearly 6,000.

Several musical organisations also received grants, including Community Music Victoria, Stonnington City Brass, Lyric Opera of Melbourne, Stonnington Symphony Inc, Stonnington Youth Jazz Initiative, and the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music. The sheer variety of musical styles and genres encompassed by this spectrum of organisations stands as a testament to the richness of the Stonnington musical scene. Similarly, the diverse range of dance organisations that received grants in the past year is represented by both Melbourne City Ballet and the Australian Tap Dance Festival. Individuals who received grants were Anthony Crowley, Caroline Packham, Michael Dalton and Michaela Bourke.


Australian Tap Dance, Class of 2016 (Image Supplied)

The City of Stonnington already has a prestigious status as a hub of arts and culture with a broad program of public events throughout the year, including over 450 performances in the theatre Chapel off Chapel complex, located in the heart of Prahran. The Arts and Cultural Grants Program is designed to further enrich the Stonnington arts community, supporting both talented emerging artists who have showed promise and established artists with a reputation for producing quality work.

There will be an information session about the grants program on Thursday 9 February from 5:30-6:30 pm AEDT at MARS Gallery, 7 James Street, Windsor, VIC 3181. Interested parties are encouraged to attend, and can register at Applications are open from 1 February until 5pm Friday 24 March. For more information, visit

About the author

Raphael Morris is a Melbourne writer.