Opportunities and awards

NGA announces Sculpture Garden Design Competition, plus winners of QMusic scholarships, finalists of ABR Calibre Essay Prize, and more!
Bundanon Artist in Residence program open for applications. Image: 2023 Bundanon resident, Yandell Walton, 'Portrait Bundanon', 2023. Photo: Jodie Whalen. A woman with blond hair in a dark and slightly creepy outdoor landscape, holding a green light to her face.

Environmental Music Prize

The Environmental Music Prize invites artists who inspire action for climate and conservation to submit music videos for Earth Day. Australian musicians across all genres are invited to submit music videos released between January 2023 and March 2024 that celebrate nature or remind us to protect it. Finalists will be publicly voted for the $20,000 cash prize.
Entries close 22 April; learn more and enter.

Sculptures Out Back (Qld)

Sculptures Out Back will return for its fourth exhibition with the addition of John Williamson AM as patron. The event welcomes emerging sculpture artists to submit entries for the chance to be exhibited on the banks of Roma’s Bungil Creek, Queensland from 15 June to 29 September. There is $40,000 in prize money are on offer, alongside the stand-alone Roma Saleyards acquisitive sculpture award, worth $35,000.
Entries close 3 May; learn more and enter.

DanceRites (NSW)

Registrations are now open for the eighth annual DanceRites competition, a celebration of First Nations dance, music and culture, taking place on the Opera House Forecourt and live streamed online on 19-20 October. Each group will present a Cultural Dance and Song Cycle, representing their local storytelling and language. Groups are also welcome to perform an optional “Wild Card” dance to showcase their unique style. Prizes will be awarded to the overall winner, one runner-up group, and a separate prize for the best “Wild Card” dance.
Registrations close 22 May; learn more and register.

Sculpture Garden Design Competition (ACT)

The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) has launched a competition to select a design team to create an innovative design incorporating a public place for experiencing art, education, cultural and social events, while respecting the garden’s original design intent and heritage values. The winner of the competition will lead a major redevelopment to revitalise the three-hectare garden surrounding the NGA, reinforcing its position as the most significant sculpture garden in Australia. The competition is open to all design teams and encourages multidisciplinary partnerships from Australia, overseas or a combination of both. Applicants are encouraged to include a landscape architect, an Australian First Nations practitioner, artist, architect and botanist or horticulturalist.
Entries for Stage One close 29 May; learn more and enter.

Shane & Cathryn Brennan Prize for Playwriting

The Shane & Cathryn Brennan Prize for Playwriting is open to full and associate members of the Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG). The most outstanding scripts across both Stage and Theatre for Young Audiences categories will share in $60,000 in prize money, and their scripts will be made eligible for AWG’s Pathways for Playwrights.
Applications close 3 June; learn more and apply.

City of Port Adelaide Enfield Arts Organisation Fund (SA)

The City of Port Adelaide Enfield has launched a new Arts Organisation Fund (AOF) aimed at attracting and supporting professional arts organisations in the region. Submissions for the AOF open from March to April each year and up to $40,000 can be provided on an annual or triannual basis. Organisations should clearly identify how they will directly benefit the local community, demonstrate the potential for employment opportunities and professional pathways for artists and arts workers, engage with local businesses and collaborate with existing creative groups to offer local audiences quality arts experiences.
Applications close 30 April; learn more and apply.

10,000 Gigs: The Victorian Gig Fund and Live Music Festivals Fund

Victoria’s live music scene will get a $10 million boost over four years with the launch of two programs that will support music festivals and venues while providing more paid gigs for local musicians. 10,000 Gigs: The Victorian Gig Fund is for established live music venues that can apply for a grant of up to $10,000 to go towards Victorian artists’ fees for gigs at their venue. The Live Music Festivals Fund will provide grants of up to $50,000 to established Victorian festival organisers to help them stage new or existing events.
Applications for both programs open from 22 April to 17 May; learn more.

Youth Ambassadors for Create4Adelaide (C4A)

The C4A Youth Ambassadors are a group of 30 young people (12 to 25 years old, or 12 to 30 years old for First Nations people) who want to help shape the Create4Adelaide program, working alongside staff from Adelaide Festival and Carclew. This involves giving guidance and feedback, collaborating on events and campaigns, creating social media and helping the voices of young people to be heard across South Australia. Selected participants will receive a $400 honorarium for their involvement.
EOIs close 30 April; learn more and apply.

Perth Festival 2025-2028

Perth Festival is calling out to Western Australian artists and creatives to connect with the sector in planning 2025-2028 iterations of the festival. The provocation is ‘Truth tellers, mischief makers, sand dunes and salty air’, and people can pitch an idea or a story that will help the Festival connect with or celebrate this theme.
Proposals close 12 May; learn more and submit.

Voices of Women Short Film and Script Festival (NSW)

Women creatives are invited to take part in the Voices of Women Short Film and Script Festival, a platform that centres recognition, networking and forging lifelong connections with like-minded artists. Awards are available for actors, writers and directors, and submissions are accepted for Best Film, Best Script and Best Music.
Early bird entries close 2 June; learn more and enter.

OUR MOB (SA)

OUR MOB is Adelaide Festival Centre’s annual art exhibition for contemporary First Nations visual artists. The OUR MOB exhibition, alongside OUR YOUNG MOB, is the culmination of artistic activities throughout the state that bring First Nations artists together in a unique and outstanding exhibition of First Nations art across a diverse range of media.
EOIs close 5 July; learn more and apply.

Regional Arts Australia

Regional Arts Australia seeks to expand the diversity of skills, expertise and lived experience of its Board of Directors. It is seeking passionate and committed individuals to contribute to the strategic direction and governance of the organisation. Those with professional experience in business development, investment, philanthropy and fundraising are encouraged to apply.
EOIs now open; learn more and apply.

ABC TOP 5 Media Residency Program – Arts

The ABC TOP 5 Arts is a two-week full-time residency presented by ABC Radio National in partnership with the University of Melbourne and Creative Australia. The successful TOP 5 Arts researchers are equipped with career-long skills, knowledge and confidence to communicate with media and their audiences about their field of expertise.
Applications close 5 May; learn more and apply.

Bundanon 2025 Artists in Residence program (NSW)

Touted as the largest residence program of its kind in Australia, Bundanon welcomes applications for artists to take up residence on its estate in 2025. The major Artists in Residence program is for visual and performing arts, literature, dance and music, and environmental and scientific research. It provides important career opportunities for artists and researchers to develop their work in an inspiring environment. Artists and researchers are hosted in purpose-built studios and rehearsal spaces on the organisation’s secluded homestead site. The program incurs no direct costs to artists. A online information session will be held on 23 April; to register.
Applications close 15 May; learn more and apply.

The Nicholas and Angela Curtis Cité Internationale des Arts Residency Fellowships 2025

This Fellowship offered by the Power Institute covers the rental fee for a studio at the Cité des Arts Internationale in Paris for three months in 2025. Residency winners will also receive $6000 towards travel and living expenses. Applicants can apply for one of three categories: artists/craftspeople; art writers, art curators, art historians or art administrators; or University of Sydney staff members or PhD candidates.
Applications close 24 July; learn more and apply.

Want more? Visit our Opportunities page for more open competitions, prizes, EOIs and call-outs.

Gulumerridjin (Larrakia), Wardaman and KarraJarri Saltwater artist, Jenna Lee, has been named the Open Prize winner of the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize, the South Australian Museum’s biennial competition celebrating the intersection of art and the natural world. Inspired by the resilience and renewal of First Nations languages, Lee’s winning sculpture, Grass Tree – Growing Together, spins the pages of a decades-old dictionary of First Nations words and place names into a black-and-white tribute to the native Grass Tree. Lee says, ‘By transforming a flawed Aboriginal word dictionary into a pair of Grass Trees, I draw parallels between First Peoples’ linguistic resilience and this plant’s ability to rise from ashes. This work celebrates the enduring spirit of both traditional language and flora in the face of their ecologies’ near destruction.’ Lee takes home a cash prize of $30,000. The $10,000 Emerging Prize category, supported by Hill Smith Art Advisory, was awarded to Queensland-based pakana artist, Andrew Gall, and his 3D-printed shell necklace Coming Together.

Yorta Yorta, Wamba Wamba, Mutti Mutti and Boonwurrung woman, Maree Clarke and Boonwurrung and Barkindji artist, Mitch Mahoney, have been selected to create the design for a tapestry that will hang in the main entry of the new $1.5 billion Footscray Hospital. The work will incorporate microscopic images of river reeds from the Maribyrnong River and skeletal drawings of local native flora and fauna. Working closely with master weavers from the Australian Tapestry Workshop, Clarke and Mahoney’s artwork will be transformed into a three-dimensional tapestry spanning 4.2 by 10 metres, making it one of the largest tapestries ever produced for a public hospital in Victoria. Construction is underway on the Footscray Hospital, which is set to open in 2025. Find out more.

In similar news, Melbourne-based artist Troy Emery has been announced as the winner of an art competition to design a new sculptural landmark on the $2.8 billion Melbourne Square project by OSK Property. The competition was overseen by Urban Art Projects (UAP) with the curatorial vision, ‘Together, in Nature’. Emery was among the eight artists considered by UAP, presenting his concept design, Guardian Lion. The design draws inspiration from traditional Chinese architecture and Japanese symbolism, whereby lions and dogs guard the entrances to shrines and signify strength. Emery says, ‘I want Guardian Lion to make people happy, to give people a sense of companionship as they travel through the area, like a friendly neighbourhood cat that greets passers-by. Guardian Lion is a surrogate pet for the neighbourhood and for the city… The intense spectrum of colour in the work not only is an antidote to the greys and browns of the cityscape but also serves to reiterate the fantastical spectrum of the natural world, where the intense colours represent the magical qualities of life on earth.’

Dr Madeline Taylor from QUT’s School of Design has been awarded a Marie Curie-Sklodowska Postdoctoral Fellowship to travel to Finland. Taylor is a fashion lecturer and theatre costume designer, who will spend 2025 at Aalto University in Helsinki to explore new technologies in her field. Under the mentorship of Professor Sofia Pantouvaki, she will join the Costume in Focus research centre and complete a project investigating how costume practitioners are embedding Industry 4.0 technologies such as 3D printing and digital pattern-making into their work. Taylor says, ‘Much of my recent research has been on the emotional intelligence required to collaborate effectively in design realisation. This extraordinary opportunity will expand that research into a new realm – one in which new technologies are transforming the industry.’ Taylor’s teaching experience draws on two decades of industry practice and her work as a co-director of The Stitchery Collective, a Brisbane and Melbourne-based design collective focused on the social and cultural aspects of fashion.

The Picture of Dorian Gray‘s star Sarah Snook has been named Best Actress at the 2024 Olivier Awards, held at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 15 April. Adapted and directed by Sydney Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, Kip Williams, The Picture of Dorian Gray has previously taken out major awards at the 2021 Sydney Theatre Awards and the 2023 Green Room Awards. The Olivier win is Snook’s third major award this season, having earned a Golden Globe and an Emmy for her work in the final season of HBO’s television series, Succession. Snook says, ‘It’s an incredible honour to be on the stage in the West End and this is not something that I thought would come along with that. It’s billed as a one-woman show, but it’s not. It’s the crew who are on stage with me all the time every night and they are a vital and constant support and inspirational. So thank you to the crew for being there in this show with me. A huge immeasurable thank you to Kip Williams and your very big brain and your specificity and precision and your inspiration, and I just I thank my lucky stars I get to play inside that mad world you’ve created every night.’ Designer Marg Horwell was also acknowledged for her work on the production, winning Best Costume Design. The Picture of Dorian Gray is currently being performed at Theatre Royal Haymarket, London, until 11 May.

QMusic has announced five grant recipients for its annual suite of scholarship awards with a total of $75,000 in funding available. The recipients are Lottie McLeod (2024 Billy Thorpe Scholarship winner), Jo Davie (2024 Carol Lloyd Award winner), Kristal West (2024 Dennis “Mop” Conlon Scholarship winner), Georgia Potter (2024 Grant McLennan Fellowship winner) and Ethan Roberts (recipient of the newly-formed Dalwood-Wylie Foundation Scholarship). McLeod is an 18-year-old musician from Meanjin whose single, ‘Happy Birthday’, led her to be one of four Triple J Unearthed featured artists and receive a Queensland Music Award in the Youth category. Davie is a singer-songwriter who has been praised for technical skill and impressive versatility, who sings with her heart. West is a proud Piadram, Manbarra and Palawa woman with a passion for advocacy and legacy. Potter is a renowned co-writer and producer, who creates power ballads with an “era-less voice”. Roberts (aka Ethan Jones) started his music career more than seven years ago, penning eclectic tunes as a therapeutic outlet that celebrates neurodiversity. The QMusic scholarship awards were announced ahead of the Queensland Music Awards, being held today (17 April).

The Substation has announced its incoming artist residents for 2024 and 2025, including visual artist Peter Waples-Crowe, sound artist Marco Cher-Gibard, and choreographers/dance artists Sandra Parker and Tra Mi Dinh. Receiving their studios for a two-year period, the new resident artists join a broader creative hub within The Substation alongside resident companies Western Edge and the Australian Art Orchestra, which, along with The Substation itself, had their multi-year funding renewed in Creative Australia’s December 2023 announcement of multi-year investment for organisations for 2025-2028. Waples-Crowe is a multidisciplinary artist, whose practice explores the intersection of an Indigenous queer identity, spirituality and Australia’s ‘ongoing colonisation’. Cher-Gibard is an artist working with sound to explore contemporary culture, expression and experience, with solo and collaborative performances presented internationally. Parker is an interdisciplinary artist, whose work focuses on the detail of movement, somatic embodiment and perception, while Dinh is interested in movement that is surprising, absurd, rhythmic and presentational.

The ABR Calibre Essay Prize 2024, which attracted a total of 567 entries from 28 countries, has revealed its shortlist. The titles are: Sounds of the Tip, or: learning to listen to the Oxley Creek Common by Stuart Cooke, The Things We Don’t Say Live in My Body by Else Fitzgerald, Everything, Then Nothing, Just Like That by Chris Fleming, Bloodstone by Nicole Hasham, Views from the Floodplain by Jeni Hunter, Looking Away by Sang-Hwa Lee, Guide to losing your house in a bushfire by Natasha Roberts, Hold Your Nerve by Natasha Sholl, why your hair is long & your stories short by Tracey Slaughter, Os Sacrum by David Sornig and Seven snakes by Carrie Tiffany. The wining essay will be published in the May issue of Australian Book Review. Find out more.

More than 80 finalist artists are now vying for the Percivals prize, including the Percival Portrait Painting Prize, the Percival Photographic Portrait Prize and the Percival Animal Portrait Prize. Two People’s Choice Awards will also be given out, with a cumulative $53,000 in prize money across all categories. Submissions are judged by a panel of art experts, with the overall painting prize winner to be selected by Bradley Vincent, former Head of Curatorial and Programs at HOTA Gallery. The overall photographic prize-winner will be judged by artist Tony Albert. The winners will be announced on 22 June. The Percivals exhibition will be on view at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery from 22 June to 1 September. Check out the list of finalists.

Six writers have been shortlisted for the black&write! Writing Fellowships by the State Library of Queensland. Two Fellowships will be offered to First nations writers, who will each receive $15,000 in prize money, editorial development with the black&write! team, and a publication opportunity with Hachette Australia. The shortlisted writers are Skye Cusack for The Dangers of Just One Person, Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi for To Clear Your Throat of Fish, Matt Gall for Daemon in the Garden, Maree Yoelu for Tangled Words in Ghost Nets, Lulu Houdini for ma-li and Mariah Sweetman for Black and White. The black&write! Fellowship recipients will be announced on 14 May at State Library of Queensland.

Check out previous Opportunities and Awards wraps for more announcements.

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Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. She took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs and was the project manager of ArtsHub’s diverse writers initiative, Amplify Collective. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne. Instagram @lleizy_