Applications for 2019 Melbourne Art Trams now open

Lesley Dumbrell painted tram, 1986 - courtesy of Public Office Record VictoriaNow in its seventh year, applications for the 2019 Melbourne Art Trams, which will see eight Melbourne trams transformed by Victorian artists into dynamic public artworks as part of this year’s Melbourne International Arts Festival’s visual arts program, are now open.

“Melbourne is proud of the access, equality, diversity and freedoms that make a world city great,” said Melbourne International Arts Festival Artistic Director, Jonathan Holloway. “We are inviting artists to respond to Melbourne as a truly welcoming and borderless city, with work that is specific to our trams as a site for collective engagement throughout the city.”

Melbourne is one of the world’s truly connected and democratic cities. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in two of our iconic entities: Melbourne’s much-loved trams and annual international arts festival that is open to all, welcoming to everyone, moving through all parts of our city, vibrant, creative and genuinely connecting.

Melbourne Art Trams is a revival and re-imaging of the much-loved Transporting Art program, which ran from 1978 to 1993 and resulted in 36 painted trams being rolled out across the Melbourne network.

In 2019, one of the eight trams will be a recreation of an original Transporting Art work by Lesley Drumbell (pictured). The 1986 work represents the power of the electricity that moves the tram and characterises the energy, creativity and optimism that infused all aspects of the 1980s in Melbourne.

“One of our most beloved public art programs, Melbourne Art Trams takes the work of Victorian artists to the streets for everyone to enjoy,” said Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley. “If you’re an artist or community group with a creative idea to transform a tram, I encourage you to apply.”

The Melbourne Arts Trams project is a partnership between Melbourne International Arts Festival, Creative Victoria, Public Transport Victoria and Yarra Trams.

One tram will be designated the Community Tram, and artists and community groups are invited to present a design which reflects their understanding of community. Artworks will be generated as digital images that are outputted onto adhesive vinyl and applied to the trams.

Expressions of Interest for Melbourne Art Trams 2019 are now open for Victorian professional and emerging artists and close on 4 June 2019 at midday – with selected artists announced in July. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Lesley Dumbrell painted tram, 1986 – courtesy of Public Office Record Victoria