Melbourne Art Trams Artists Announced

Freya Pitt_editorialEight Victorian artists have been selected to transform Melbourne trams into mobile artworks to be unveiled as part of the 2013 Melbourne Festival in October.

Announcing the winning proposals, Minister for the Arts Heidi Victoria said the new Melbourne Art Trams initiative has been welcomed by artists and the public alike.

“Bringing together two of Melbourne’s defining features – trams and great art – it’s an idea that resonates strongly in this city,” Ms Victoria said.

“The Victorian Government’s original Transporting Art scheme, which ran from 1978 to 1993, is still fondly remember by many, and this new program is being embraced just as enthusiastically.”

Ms Victoria said there were a total of 117 expressions of interest from Victorian artists in this first round of the three year program, representing a broad spectrum of the arts sector.

“The proposed designs were as creative and diverse as Melbourne itself, and represented an array of styles, artistic practices and ideas. I acknowledge and thank all of the artists who shared their vision for a Melbourne tram,” Ms Victoria said.

The winning artists include some of Victoria’s most respected names in contemporary art. They are: Brook Andrew; Jon Campbell; Bindi Cole; Luke Cornish; Joining Forces (an artist collective comprising Zahra Zainal, Brendan Ninness, Jeffrey Phillips, Gemma Flack, Rhiannon Thomas and Sebastian Berto); Rose Nolan; and David Wadelton.

Freya Pitt, a Masters of Art in Public Space student at RMIT University, was selected from a strong field of Victorian tertiary art and design students in the emerging artist category.

Her design Going to Somewhere, focussed on ideas around light and silhouette. It is a personal mapping of Melbourne featuring sketches drawn whilst on a tram.

Like the encounters she observes on public transport, the multiple sketches in her design will run into one another in a crowded and disorderly fashion representative of the tram experience itself.

Ms Victoria said the artists will now develop their concepts which will be generated as digital images, and outputted onto adhesive vinyl that will wrap the trams. The art trams range from the latest low-floor class trams through to the historic W-Class tram, and will appear one by one in the lead up to 2013 Melbourne Festival.

All eight will be on routes across the Yarra Trams network by the opening weekend of the Festival, and will continue to run for a period of six months.

Yarra Trams CEO, Clement Michel says that Yarra Trams is proud to have talented artists displaying their artwork on its trams.

“Trams are an icon of Melbourne and Yarra Trams is excited to be bringing the work of these eight artists to the public. I’m sure there will be passengers making special trips to ride these trams,” Mr Michel said.

Melbourne Festival Creative Director, Josephine Ridge said that the Melbourne Art Trams initiative will reflect the true essence of Melbourne.

“Melbourne Festival, at its heart, is a celebration of what is best about this city, and our audiences who, in their enthusiastic appreciation for our cultural landscape, shape so much of its personality,” Ms Ridge said.

“We are hugely appreciative of the way that Melbourne has embraced the idea of transforming one of our most loved icons into public works of art for everyone to admire.”

For more information about the Melbourne Art Trams initiative, visit:

The Melbourne Festival runs from 11 – 27 October 2013. For more information, visit:

Image: Going to Somewhere by Freya Pitt