Footscray University Town partners, Victoria University and Maribyrnong City Council, joined forces with Footscray Community Arts Centre and the Rotary Club of Footscray to hold the inaugural Footscray Art Prize in 2017.
Attracting over 800 entries that spanned photography, video, painting, sculpture and street art from every state in Australia, the Prize is set to become a biennial event that celebrates the diverse and creative character of the inner city Melbourne suburb of Footscray.
Judges Jason Smith (Geelong Gallery director); Reko Rennie (Footscray-born artist); Richard Ennis (Moonee Ponds Incinerator Gallery curator); Beverly Knight (Alcaston Gallery director); and Simon Spain (creative producer) selected Indigenous Anangu artist Mumu Mike Williams as winner of the $10,000 main prize with his entry Postbag Painting. Jason Smith said that the inaugural recipient of the Prize “reflects the truly national scope and reach” of the Art Prize, positioning Footscray as a mirror of contemporary Australia.
Besides the main Footscray Art Prize, the award also included prizes for street artists, tertiary students and young artists from Melbourne’s west aged 18 or under.
Shortlisted works were exhibited at Victoria University’s VU at MetroWest gallery, the Footscray Community Arts Centre, and street art sites across inner Footscray. The four categories highlighted the strengths of the partners, which combined specialist knowledge, volunteer power, and project management to inaugurate an incredibly successful national Art Prize.
Established to align with the University’s Centenary celebrations, the Footscray Art Prize partnership aims to enhance the profile of Footscray as one of Australia’s most vibrant and creative arts hubs, recognise emerging artists, strengthen the collaborative working relationship of the partners, and engage with a range of industries and communities in Melbourne’s west.
The Footscray Art Prize exemplifies the overall ambition of the University and its partners’ commitment to Melbourne’s west, and their roles as key influencers in its development.
The 2019 Prize will reopen for entries at the end of 2018. For more information, visit: www.vu.edu.au/footscray-art-prize
Photo: Footscray Art Prize winner Mumu Mike Williams with Victoria University’s Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Peter Dawkins AO, with the winning work Postbag Painting (2017) in the background