What's On

Believe The Hype, Melbourne Will Be Home To An Ambitious New Arts Festival In 2021

By Rick Stephens
21st May 2020

For reasons we don’t need to harp on about, most, if not all events and festivals have had to hit pause for 2020. However, this morning the announcement has been made that Melbourne will be home to a new annual arts festival in 2021 called RISING, and it looks incredible.

RISING will replace White Night and Melbourne International Arts Festival as one of Asia-Pacific’s major cultural events led by local and international curators. At the helm is co-Artistic Directors Gideon Obarzanek and Hannah Fox, who have an ambitious vision to bring powerful artistic and social experiences to the festival, and they’re using the current state of the world as a means to amplify the idea.

"One of the upsides we see emerging from this difficult time is the hard proof that radical change on a monumental scale is in fact possible. This seems fertile ground to be working with artists to build something new for Melbourne,” says Fox.

A portion of the budget initially planned for the 2020 event has since been reallocated to create a commissioning program for Victorian artists to be a part of next year’s event, and it’s a substantial figure of two million dollars. Expressions of interests are open now, with the expert panel of curators looking for projects from all sectors of the arts that challenge the status quo.

“Rather than prescribing specific outcomes, we are seeking ideas that are ambitious, unusual and that could only happen in a festival context. Whether these respond to the times or reach beyond them, we invite ideas that are radical and critical; ideas that are absurd and bombastic; ideas that are contemplative and philosophical; and ideas that are celebratory and unifying.” said Obarzanek.

RISING is part of the broader Victorian recovery initiative and will run from Wednesday 26 May to Sunday 6 June 2021. As a nod to the ethos behind the name, the festival’s opening night will coincide with the rising of May’s full moon. 

Mark the date. This will be big.

Image credit: supplied

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