Applications are now open for the 2018 Melbourne Art Trams, which will see eight Melbourne trams transformed by Victorian artists into dynamic public artworks as part of Melbourne Festival’s visual arts program. 

Now in its sixth year, the public art project invites artists to propose a work that is specific to Melbourne’s trams as a site for collective engagement throughout the city, and to respond to Melbourne as a site of change.

Melbourne Art Trams is a revival and re-imagining 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 2018, one of the eight trams will recreate an original Transporting Art work, by late expressionist painter David Larwill. Larwill’s work was commissioned in 1986 as part of the United Nations International Year of Peace; for 2018, his W-Class tram will be photographed and adjusted to fit a modern tram design, then printed on adhesive vinyl and applied to the tram.

“Victoria is the creative state and what greater expression of this is there than when our iconic trams are reimagined as giant public artworks,” says Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley.

“This year won’t just celebrate the most exciting Victorian artists of today, by reviving David Larwill’s tram artwork, the project will pay tribute to a groundbreaking artist whose talents live on after him.” 

Melbourne Art Trams 2018 expressions of interest are now open for Victorian professional artists, with one tram design reserved for an emerging artist in the early years of their career as an artist, or who identifies as such regardless of age. One tram is also reserved for an artist who specifically responds to their interpretation of ‘community’.

Expressions of interest for the Melbourne Art Trams close on Tue 12 June, with selected artists announced in July.