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How to make public art (with the City of Sydney’s help)

Calling all creatives: It’s time to submit your ideas for Art & About 2021.

If you’ve got a great artwork in your head, Art & About might just be the way to make it happen.

Applications for the 2021 public art program are open. If you’re successful, you could see your artwork on display somewhere in Sydney next year.

Here’s everything you need to know about the program and putting your ideas forward.

All about Art & About

The City of Sydney’s public art program runs from February to December each year. You’ll see temporary artworks by emerging and high-profile artists around the city centre and inner city – in everywhere from moving buses to abandoned homes.

Ideas in all kinds of art forms are welcome

Artists working in any discipline can apply – from installation, sculpture, and mural art to sound, video, photography and performance.

Art & About’s 2020 program includes an audio project by Roslyn Oades, a digital work by Tactical Tech, a dance-based theatre piece by Reckless Sleepers, and an installation by Jonathan Jones.

Jonathan Jones, 'untitled (maraong manaóuwi)', Art & About 2020. Credit: James Horan

… and so are original and unusual ideas

Projects should make creative use of a public space or unconventional location and foster audience engagement and a sense of community.

If your artwork fits that description, it’s a perfect candidate for the program. You don’t need to have a location confirmed at the time you apply.

The Art & About team will help you secure a location if you're shortlisted.

You don’t need to have created a big public artwork before

Applications are welcome from anyone: individuals and groups, locals and internationals, professional artists and amateur creatives.

Art & About has hosted high-profile artists such as Nick Cave, Craig Walsh and Janet Echelman. But it’s also presented work by advertising creatives and other art-world outsiders.

As long as you have a good idea and the skills to pull it off, you’re encouraged to apply.

You’ll get some funding and plenty of support

The Art & About team will help you execute your vision. It provides skills, expertise, advice and practical support to bring your idea to life – and marketing to make sure people see your amazing work.

“It’s not a grant, it’s a collaboration," program manager Liza Bahamondes said.

Funding is between $40,000 and $85,000 per project.

Get your application in

Apply online by 5pm on Friday 7 February 2020. All applications are assessed by a panel of artists, curators and cultural leaders.

The 2019 judges included director of UNSW Galleries, Felicity Fenner.

Felicity said the judges are looking for imagination, originality and ability to carry out the work.

“In your application, keep the explanatory text simple and straightforward,” Felicity said.

“Describe the look of the artwork and, importantly, the experience of viewing or interacting with it. Use images like concept drawings, photographs of earlier iterations, or renders of how it will look in situ.”

Program manager Liza Bahamondes recommends including a well-thought out budget in your application.

She also suggested using imagery to help judges visualise the project.

“A render tells a thousand words,” she said.

Read insider tips from previous Art & About artists.

And if you can’t squeeze in an application this year, that’s OK. Sign up to hear about future opportunities.

View a preview of Passenger below. Starts Wednesday 26 February 2020.

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Experience Passenger free. Book a free ticket now.