First Art Tram revealed in Melbourne

Melbourne Art Tram 2013Victorian Premier Denis Napthine took part in a moving arts experience today with the launch of the first Melbourne Art Tram.

Celebrating the first of the eight trams hitting the tracks today, Dr Napthine said the Melbourne Art Trams initiative would see the city’s tram network transformed into a public gallery featuring the work of Victorian artists.

“Art and trams are intrinsic parts of life in Melbourne and the Victorian Coalition Government is very proud to be part of this program which brings these iconic elements of our city together,” Dr Napthine said.

“Converting eight of our city’s trams into giant rolling canvases is a fantastic concept that will provide a new tourist attraction and reinforce Melbourne’s reputation as the nation’s art capital.

“It is a pleasure to be here today to reveal the first tram of this series which has been designed by Melbourne artist, musician and lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts, Jon Campbell.

“This W Class tram features a pop art inspired representation of the suburban backyard and will run on the city circle route from today onwards.

“The remaining art trams will progressively hit the tracks over the coming days leading up to the opening of the 2013 Melbourne Festival on 11 October and they will continue to operate until April 2014,” Dr Napthine said.

Dr Napthine said the Art Tram initiative was a new take on the Victorian Government’s Transporting Art Program which saw artist painted trams running across the Melbourne network from 1978 to 1993.

“The trams will run on routes across the network and will include works by Bindi Cole, Brook Andrew, David Wadelton, art collective Joining Forces, stencil artist Luke Cornish and emerging artist Freya Pitt, who is currently undertaking a Masters in Art at RMIT University,” Dr Napthine said.

“As part of the initiative, people will also be able to vote for their favourite artwork with the winner to collect a $5,000 People’s choice Award.”

Josephine Ridge, Creative Director of Melbourne Festival said the program will be a vibrant and distinctive dimension of the 2013 Festival program.

“The Melbourne Art Trams are expected to be seen by hundreds of thousands of people, extending the festival’s reach and bringing the Melbourne Festival experience to new and diverse audiences from the suburbs to the CBD,” Ms Ridge said.

Yarra Trams Chief Executive Officer Clément Michel welcomed the unveiling of the first of eight unique trams that will be on the network.

“Trams have been the lifeblood of Melbourne for more than 100 years and Yarra Trams is proud to play its part in delivering art to the community through this initiative,” Mr Michel said.

“We will have one tram at each of our eight depots across the suburbs, meaning that all Melburnians and visitors to the city this summer will have a chance to ride a Melbourne Art Tram.”

Voting for the People’s Choice Award will open on 11 October 2013. For more information, visit: www.melbournefestival.com.au/trams for details.

Image: Jon Campbell with his tram titled Backyard (courtesy of ABC News)

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