*Feature Image by Recipient Bianca Hester

One of the hardest things about being an artist is a career is finding the financial footing to sustain your career. So it truly is a wonderful thing that something like the prestigious Sidney Myer creative Fellowship program exists. Since the inception of the program in 2011, the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowships have to date awarded in excess of $8 million dollars directly to 55 mid-career artists. The system of awarding a tax free grant of $160,000 to each recipient uniquely places the artists and their creative endeavours at the centre of the Fellowship.

Rather than having a set outline as to how the award grants need to be used over the two year period, the Fellowships are not tied to any individual creative outcome. Rather, they exist to value the work of artists and recognise the paramount importance of financially rewarding these creatives in order to acknowledge their contributions to the world of art, and to society as a whole.

In order to be eligible for the Fellowship, artists must be within seven and fifteen years into their creative practice, and they must adhere to two important criteria. Firstly, they must present outstanding talent in their chosen field, and secondly they must possess exceptional professional courage. The fellowships are open to artists and arts managers across the entire spectrum of the visual, performing, interdisciplinary, new media and literary arts.

This year, the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowships have been awarded to eight exceptional and courageous artists from across Australia. Andrew Myer, the Chair of the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship has said of the selections this year, ‘Each of these eight artists have worked tirelessly and I’m delighted that these Fellowships directly support them and their practice.  We must support the arts in any way we can.  We need the arts and artists, probably more so than ever before.  Without a thriving arts community, who will tell the stories and who will be courageous enough when all others fall silent.  I am proud that we have been able to support these artists each creating works of excellence across their fields.’

For 2016, Sidney Myer Creative Fellowships have been awarded to:  Khadim Ali, visual arts (QLD); Mary Anne Butler, playwright (NT); Dr Bianca Hester, visual arts (NSW); Sarah Holland-Batt, poetry (QLD); Alex Kelly, community arts (NT);Gareth Liddiard, music (VIC); Jonathon Oxlade, theatre, film and design (SA); Justin Shoulder, community arts (NSW).

The national Selection Panel for the 2016 Fellows featured Stephen Carleton, Fran Clark, Fraser Corfield, Helen Marcou, Sean Pardy, Rachel Swain and Emma Webb.

Read up more on the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowships HERE

Congratulations to al the winners of this fantastic and prestigious fellowship!