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‘Opportunities for young and emerging artists’ (OYEA) is a new government initiative that provides $6.6m over four years (2008-09 to 2010-11) to build skills and experience for young and emerging artists.

The Australia Council for the Arts will manage the program which was announced in the May 2008 federal budget. CEO Kathy Keele describes the initiative as a comprehensive, national program which will help seed the future of Australian arts.

“This new range of programs will grow the professional networks of young and emerging artists, develop their skills, support performing arts companies to present their work and give rise to projects using new technologies to engage artists and audiences,” Ms Keele says.

The OYEA program focuses on six pathways:

1. Creative residencies and commissions

Two new grant programs will support:

  • residencies with major performing arts companies for young and emerging creative producers, directors and performing artists
  • commissions for new work created or performed by young and emerging artists with the Australia Council’s  major performing arts companies and key organisations.

2. Artists run initiatives

This program will encourage art school graduates to continue developing networks and skills through artist run initiatives.

As supportive and dynamiccreative communities which foster innovation, artist run initiatives can increase cross-artform collaboration.  This program will also produce a comprehensive online guide to establishing and managing artist run initiatives.

3. National mentoring programs

Three new mentoring programs will be created:

National mentoring program for young and emerging artists

A diverse range of artists will be mentored across geographic areas and artforms through this broad new national mentoring program.

Producers – the next generation of arts professionals

A group of young producers, agents, gallery dealers and rights managers will be guided through an 18 month placement with a senior arts professionals. The program will develop skills in research, selling rights, negotiating contracts, facilitating tours, commissions, exhibitions, presentations, residencies and sector collaboration, guiding the next generation of Australian arts professionals.

Indigenous picture book to performance

Emerging Indigenous writers and illustrators will work with established mentors as an unpublished Indigenous picture book manuscript is turned into a book, theatrical production and bi-lingual e-book, in English and Indigenous language(s).

4. Interdisciplinary arts residential laboratories at Splendour in the Grass

Six emerging young artists and four senior practitioners will participate in bi-annual residencies, thanks to a partnership with the music, arts and youth festival Splendour in the Grass. In addition, up to five high-calibre, festival ready new works will be commissioned from the residencies to be exhibited and/or performed at the festival.

5. The Program

‘The Program’ will be an online, open, arts community that provides

  • a public-facing, social networking  space for young audiences to engage with Australian arts
  • an industry-facing platform for those working in the arts to network, collaborate, and share research
  • a central digital repository for organisational, venue, event and audience data.

6. Young and Emerging Artist Award with the Australian Business Arts Foundation (AbaF)

As part of the annual AbaF awards, the Australia Council will sponsor a Young and Emerging Artist Award for the next four years. The award will honour a partnership between a business and a cultural organisation (eg performing arts company, artist-run initiative, arts service organisation) that helps to build skills, experience and opportunities for young and emerging artists.

Media contact:

Mikael Kjaerbye

(Tel) 0403 090 022



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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