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VIC: Women’s Public Art Program applications open

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In an attempt to ensure the achievements of inspirational women are better represented and recognised, the Andrews Labor Government is introducing a new program to fund and deliver more public art that depicts and is made by women.

Applications are now open for the new $1 million Victorian Women’s Public Art Program – recognising women leaders and ensuring greater opportunities for female artists who are also significantly underrepresented when it comes to major public commissions.

Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams said that Victorian women had achieved amazing things in politics, activism, literature, civil life, science, medicine, and sport; she expressed that these achievements should be celebrated just as equally as those of men.

“While Victoria’s public statues may be silent, the unequal numbers of women speaks volumes – symbolising the structural inequality experienced by women across almost every setting,” she said.

“The program will go a long way in ensuring that female artists are prioritised – recognising that women artists have low representation in art media, commercial galleries and state museums compared to men,” she added.

Australia’s “Fearless Girl” statue by artist Kristen Visbal was unveiled in Melbourne in 2019. Source: Twitter

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Grants of between $50,000 to $200,000 are available to organisations across Victoria, with applicants strongly encouraged to work in partnership with community or interest groups such as local sporting and advocacy groups or arts collectives.

Currently, of the 580 statues across Melbourne, only nine depict women – the program will address this significant inequality by supporting projects that recognise women and their achievements through mediums such as statues, sculptures and other enduring public art.

Women artists will be prioritised, recognising that women have low representation in art media, commercial galleries and state museums compared to men.

The program builds on the Labor Government’s $300,000 investment in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to design and erect a statue of an iconic netball player at John Cain Arena.

Netball Victoria found that across Victoria there are currently only three statues of sportswomen compared to 29 statues of sportsmen.

The program complements the Victorian Honour Roll of Women, which celebrates women’s outstanding leadership and contributions to life in Victoria.

Applications close on 10 January 2022. For more information about the grants program, visit rav.net.au/fundingopportunities/victorian-womens-public-art-program/.

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