Melbourne’s City of Stonnington now offering over $400,000 in arts grants

A Melbourne City Council is offering an ‘open-door’ policy for its $400,000-plus arts and culture grants, encouraging applications from established arts organisations and emerging artists.
Melbourne’s City of Stonnington now offering over $400,000 in arts grants

Melbourne Cabaret Festival performer Pisca has brought a feathered glamour to the City of Stonnington. Image supplied.

The City of Stonnington, which incorporates the southeastern suburbs of Prahran, Toorak and Malvern East among others, has just opened applications for its 2018/19 Arts and Cultural Grants

There are five different funding streams: Triennial with funding over three years; over $20,000; $20,000 and under; Chapel Off Chapel Venue Hire In-kind, and Venue Hire In-kind.

Stonnington Mayor, Cr Steve Stefanopoulos, said the performing arts had been the mainstay of funding in the past and, while he expected that to continue to attract a high proportion of applications, he was looking forward to a diverse range of projects.

‘We are open to new ideas and challenges,’ he told ArtsHub. ‘The moving image is something that we would encourage and I would love to see more short films, projections, art installations or some works that we can commission into public parks and gardens or public streetscapes and places that may be temporary – that would be fantastic. 

‘We are always focusing on the performing arts, the bands, musicians and actors but we want to do more in the dance field as well, especially contemporary dance.’

Eligible art forms include theatre, cabaret, dance, visual art, circus and physical theatre, live art, music, digital media and film, interdisciplinary and hybrid art as well as arts festivals.


Stefanopoulos said one of the key objectives of the grants is to support art that will engage local residents and peel younger generations away from social media.

‘An application will stand out if it is creative, innovating, unique, engaging, fresh and if you can get the general public to engage in something that is artistic and unusual,’ he said. 

‘The general public see art as they go past in their day-to-day lives, but how do you engage a younger demographic in various different forms of art when social media is taking over their lives and steering them off in a different directions? That’s really key.’

Learn more about the City of Stonnington’s grants programs

The City of Stonnington is already a big supporter of the arts, hosting the Stonnington Jazz Festival, Sunset Sounds summer outdoor concerts and the Glow Winter Arts Festival as well as supporting events within larger Melbourne-wide Festivals such as Melbourne Cabaret Festival, Fringe Festival, Melbourne Festival and the annual Midsumma LGBTIQ festival. 

Stefanopoulos said he hoped to continue that association with established groups, particularly LGBTIQ+ organisations, but was also very keen to encourage individual artists and smaller groups to apply. He said the Council had changed the grant structure so it will be easier for individual artists and local groups asking for a few hundred or a few thousand dollars to host projects to be able to navigate the grant process.

‘We really want all kinds of groups to apply, and we are also really keen on getting local talent out there – local artists, local performers, local community groups as well as those who are disadvantaged or who have a disability or connection with mental health. I am sure there are some emerging artists both young and older who haven’t been out there promoting themselves and we want them come and apply for a grant and we will provide them with a platform to promote their art within the City of Stonnington.’

The Council is keen for small artistic groups to apply along with larger events such as the Melbourne Cabaret Festival. Image supplied. 

The structure of the grants mean there is funding to support projects of all types in partnership with groups; individuals who can apply if they are auspiced by an incorporated or not-for-profit organisation. Stefanopoulos said this could come in the form of cash or provision of a venue such as the renowned Chapel Off Chapel performance and art space, or any venues under the Council’s mandate such the Town Hall or parks and gardens.

The application process will this year be exclusively online, and the Council is hosting an information night on Monday 26 March at Chapel Off Chapel from 6.30pm– 8.00pm. 

‘We will give attendees some ideas as to the type of projects we have run before, what we might be looking for and how they can fill out the forms and apply and be creative about what they can do,’ said Stefanopoulos.

Applications are now open via the Council’s website and close April 26. The successful applicants will be notified in July. Visit for details.


Cathy Anderson

Monday 26 March, 2018

About the author

Cathy Anderson is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist and the co-founder of digital content creation agency Ginger Brown.