Melbourne Fringe launches first round of Microgrants to support Melbourne independent artists

Melbourne Fringe, Glitter and Snatch at Club Fringe 2019 - photo by Duncan JacobMelbourne Fringe has launched a new round of microgrants and bursaries to support Melbourne’s independent art scene. Acknowledging artists need support now more than ever, Melbourne Fringe is excited to announce these grants earlier than usual in the Festival cycle, assisting artists to turn ideas into reality.

“We know Fringe artists are full of creative ideas and energy, so we wanted to get our Fringe grants and opportunities out as soon as possible,” said Simon Abrahams, Melbourne Fringe CEO and Creative Director. “Our artistic community is irrepressible, resilient and creative, and now is the time to support them to make and share their art.”

“The first wave in our suite of grants and commissions are all about opportunities for work and money in the pockets of artists. We thank our wonderful donors and partners that help us provide these opportunities,” added Simon.

The grants vary in size, structure and requirements, offering opportunities of various styles and across multiple genres:

ShowSupport is a match-making service for art. Melbourne Fringe pairs independent artists with private donors who are interested in commissioning original work to premiere in the 2020 Festival. Artists can propose a work or idea, and if the donor loves the sound of it, a match is made and a $2,500 grant is awarded. Applications close Monday 18 May 2020.

Jewel Box Grants:
Jewel Box Grants support creative people of colour by commissioning original work to be presented at the 2020 Festival. The $1500 commissioning fee to create new work also covers registration fees, provides one-on-one chats and additional support as required such as mentoring, marketing support, advertising, event photography and more. Applications close Monday 18 May 2020.

XS OPEN is a new open access public art commission for the XS program of contemporary, experimental and live art for children. The commission supports an independent artist, company or collective to create and premiere a free experimental work for children up to 12 years old, in a public space within the City of Maribyrnong. The successful artist(s) will receive up to $10,000 to bring their idea to life, free registration in the 2020 Festival and additional support from the Fringe team. Applications close Monday 11 May 2020.

Deadly Fringe Visual Arts Commissions:
The Deadly Fringe program, now in its third year, is expanding to include two new visual arts commissions. is the commissions will engage two First Nations artists, who will each deliver a new and original visual art exhibition within one of Melbourne’s independent galleries as part of the 2020 Festival. The first exhibition commission is open to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander visual artists working in any medium, including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography or 3D works, or a mix of these.

The second visual arts commission is open for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists working primarily in digital media, including film and video art. Artists may also present live or event-based programming alongside the digital exhibition. Tech support for this exhibition includes access to a projector, multiple television monitors and additional equipment to support exhibition delivery.

The two selected emerging artists will each receive $2,000 to support material costs, support to cover gallery hire, exhibition staffing, an opening event and other curatorial and technical support, a bespoke one-on-one mentorship program, personalised support throughout the whole process from the Deadly Fringe team including Blak only yarning circles and cultural support. Applications close Monday 18 May 2020.

Ralph Mclean Microgrants:
The Ralph Mclean Microgrants program offers discounted assistance for artists who are facing structural disadvantage. This includes artists from diverse backgrounds and identities like artists who are from the LGBTQI+ community, artists who are Deaf or have a disability, First Nations artists or artists who are culturally and linguistically diverse.

Fringe also recognises that some artists face other disadvantages and obstacles that make for an unequal playing field – things like being a single parent or carer, having no financial support from family and friends, work and contract terminations or a lack of access to education.

The project can be of any length, discipline or genre and at any venue, the only condition is that it must be part of the 2020 Melbourne Fringe Festival. Successful applicants will have a portion of their event registration fee covered for their proposed project and will be assigned a 25%, 50% or 90% grant. Applications open 1 June 2020.

The 2020 Melbourne Fringe Festival will take place 12 – 29 November. Artist registrations open on 1 June 2020. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Glitter and Snatch at the Melbourne Fringe Club 2019 – photo by Duncan Jacob