2022 Melbourne Art Trams — Artist Call-Out

2022 Melbourne Art Trams, in partnership with Public Transport Victoria, Yarra Trams and Creative Victoria

The Melbourne Art Trams Program returns in 2022, again featuring all designs by First Peoples artists.

Melbourne/Naarm is a city built on the lands of the Kulin Nation peoples; Traditional Owners who continue to maintain deep connections to their country, kin and waterways that have existed for tens of thousands of years.

Along with Victorian Traditional Owners, Melbourne/Naarm is home to many First Peoples from across the country.

RISING Artistic Associate Kimberley Moulton (Yorta Yorta), curated the six artists and artworks featured on the 2021 First Peoples Art Trams. For 2022, Jarra Karilinar Steel (Boonwurrung/Wemba Wemba), a previous Melbourne Art Trams artist, will be joining as curator to take on this important piece of Melbourne’s artistic landscape.


‘Unapologetically Blak’ is the theme for the 2022 Melbourne Art Trams, curated by Boon Wurrung artist, curator and cultural consultant, Jarra Karalinar Steel.

‘Unapologetically Blak’ invites First Nations artists who are either Victorian Traditional owners, or a First Nations person residing/working in Victoria, to respond to ideas of family and kin, connection and care of country, personal expressions of culture, language, and blak excellence.

The theme is a call for self-determined expressions, recognising the dynamic ways of existing as a First Nations person, living in so called Victoria; a celebration of our success, our growth, and our continued desire to be stronger as a peoples; recognising our mob disrupting, and redefining what being blak means for them, and that we can, and will, continue to do what our passions are, regardless of the glass ceiling that attempts to hold us.

Creating space for these diverse identities allows for conversations around individual identities within a community of many realities, and honouring the peoples that have grown within this space. We have not only survived, but are thriving, and creating footsteps worth following for our future generations.

The concept pays homage to the 1994 collaborative First Nations group exhibition, Blakness: Blak City Culture! featuring the work of Destiny Deacon. Curators of the exhibition Clare Williamson and Hetti Perkins described Destiny Deacon’s development of the term ‘Blak’ as “part of a symbolic, but potent strategy of reclaiming colonialist language to create means of self-definition and expression”.

Journalist Kate Munro reflected on this contribution more recently in her piece, Why ‘Blak’ not ‘Black’, stating that, “Deacon staunchly redefined both the spelling and the meaning of the word ‘black’ as a direct response to non-Indigenous people's labelling and consistent misrepresentations of our people”.

You are an artist who has autonomy over how you interpret this brief; there is no wrong or right way to be blakfella.

Be bright, bold and Unapologetically Blak.


We are inviting Victorian Traditional Owners and First Peoples curators to respond to Melbourne/Naarm and the multiple layers of history, country, community, and connections across Victoria.

Five artists will be selected to participate in the 2022 First Peoples Art Trams Project. The project aims that three trams will be allocated to artists who identify as Traditional Owners of Victoria and two trams to First Peoples who live in Victoria. We encourage artists from both the city and regional Victoria to apply.

Submissions should add positively to the public experience of commuting in Melbourne. Please note that the trams are not a flat canvas, so the initial creative concept should consider that trams are different shapes and sizes. It’s important you consider you design to all the types of tram classes—this will facilitate the tram allocation process.

Please read the The Brief and FAQs below for more detailed information on this.


The following criteria applies:

  • Strength of the creative vision
  • Originality of response to the creative brief outlined in the curatorial statement
  • Technical feasibility
  • How the artwork responds to its context (ie. riding the tramlines each day)


  • Imagery should not be offensive to the general public
  • Be aware that the artwork needs to be appropriate for display on a moving vehicle, most impressions of trams are 3—5 seconds
  • Note that there are reflective yellow strips at the base of each door for accessibility
  • Artwork graphics are not to be applied on shaded areas on the tram wrap grid, these areas are kept clear for safety. Sections of windows that are covered by the artwork will be printed on a semi-transparent material
  • Perforated vinyl is used on windows, at night this becomes more transparent with the interior lights on
  • During warm weather the windows will be open, shifting the wrapped element with it
  • Artworks which are reflective, are predominantly black or red, or which resemble streetscapes would be a road hazard when applied to a tram and will not be able to be selected for safety reasons
  • Tram ends should remain visible for safety reasons (avoiding black)
  • Designs that include black and dark colours are possible, particularly when featuring high contrast
  • Artwork can be different on each side of the tram
  • No artwork will be placed on the front/back of the tram


To be selected as a 2022 Melbourne Art Trams artist:

  • You must be a Victorian Traditional Owner OR
  • First Peoples artist where Victoria is the primary location in which you live and work OR
  • First Peoples artist whose practice or body of work over the last three years has primarily taken place in Victoria

Artists who submitted an Expression of Interest in previous years but were unsuccessful are encouraged to submit a new idea for 2022.


The 2022 Melbourne Art Trams curator is multi-disciplinary artist Jarra Karalinar Steel, known for her powerful emu engravings, poster art, large scale public installations, digital/augmented reality art, RAP artwork and commemorative signage. Jarra is of Boonwurrung, Wemba Wemba, English and Scottish descent. She completed her Master of Arts (Art in Public Space) from RMIT in 2020, and is a passionate advocate/consultant for self-representation of Kulin and Victorian First Peoples Art and culture and making sure it is kept alive and thriving. Jarra was the successful applicant from RISING’s call out for the 2022 First People’s Melbourne Art Tram Curator. RISING Artistic Associate and Co-Artistic Directors evaluated applicants on the strength of the creative vision, originality of curatorial statement and experience in curation, project management and working collaboratively with First Peoples community.

Submissions will be assessed by 2022 curator Jarra Karalinar Steel and the Melbourne Art Tram Partnership Group comprising representatives of Creative Victoria, Department of Transport, Yarra Trams and RISING. This group will be made up of a majority of First Peoples with additional members to support technical and marketing requirements.


Five (5) successful artists will each receive a commission of $10,000AUD for their artwork.


Artists must have capacity in February 2022 to provide final artwork for the project.

  • Artist Expressions of Interest open—Mon 20 December 2021—Sun 23 January 2022
  • Selected artists notified—Fri 4 February 2022
  • Final Artwork approvals— March 2022
  • Artistic statements and marketing text completed—March—April 2022
  • Artwork Production and installation—April—May 2022
  • Media Launch and Opening of Melbourne Arts Trams with the first tram on the network—end of May 2022


If you have access requirements that will cause difficulty submitting online, and you need assistance submitting your idea, please call 03 9662 4242, Monday to Friday, between 9AM–5PM. We are only able to respond to accessibility enquiries at this number, for all other queries email arttrams@rising.melbourne.

There are two ways you can submit your artwork of the five (5) tram designs:

  1. Fill in the form below and upload your artwork and supporting material OR
  2. Email arttrams@rising.melbourne with your artwork as an attachment (please be mindful of file sizes and consider using a file sharing link—make sure you include any passwords so we can access them). You’ll also need to include the following information about yourself:
    • full name
    • phone number
    • language group
    • your artwork file + file sharing password
    • an outline of your artwork idea (300 words)
    • supporting material to illustrate your idea
    • artist bio (300 words)
    • website link


This templates are for placing an existing image or images of your work (such as a photo of your artwork) into the tram template for the purpose of visualisation of your concept for the EOI Application only.

There are four classes of trams of different shapes and sizes which will be the canvas for your work. To get a sense of how your artwork will work on the range of trams available, we’re asking you to apply your artwork onto a B-Class and a D1-Class.

Download these tram templates and place your artwork onto the line drawings of each tram type. The Photoshop templates are for the purpose of the EOI application and are a visualisation exercise only. A graphic designer will work with you to translate your design into final artwork for the trams.

If you’re not familiar with using Adobe Photoshop, please provide detailed artwork imagery with indicative examples of what your work would look like on the tram—think colour palette, design and layout. You definitely don’t need to be a graphic design whiz to apply.


  • Please provide your artwork and supporting material as either .JPG, .PNG, .TIFF, .GIF, or .PDF files.
  • Do not create your final art using these templates. The templates are low resolution. If selected, your final artwork will need to be supplied in the Adobe Illustrator template/s. The final artwork needs to be created/ photographed at very high resolution
  • RISING can provide technical assistance for your final art file
  • Artwork generated on an iPad is generally not of high enough resolution for the tram production requirements, and we are unable to assist technically


Successful artists will be notified in the first week of February 2022 and publicly announced soon after.

Selected artists will be allocated a tram type in order to finalise their artwork before it is transferred to the vinyl wrap. The curator and graphic designer will be available to assist artists with this and in digitising work where needed. Artists must be available during this period—last two weeks of February—to complete the project.

Yarra Trams and the Melbourne Art Trams Curator have final decision on tram selection for the selected artists for health and safety and design purposes.

Artwork will be printed and applied to the trams and the launch of the first Melbourne Art Tram will mark the opening of RISING 2022. Remaining Art Trams will be released over the following weeks. Trams will be run on the network for 12 months (unless impacted operationally).


Q. What are the timelines for Melbourne Art Trams 2022?

A. Expression of Interest submissions open from Monday 20 December 2021 and close 6PM, Sunday 23 January 2022. Selected artists will be notified and begin work on the final designs from mid-February. Dates will be confirmed with successful artists if selected. The 2022 Art Trams launch will coincide with the RISING festival dates in early June 2022.

Q. What kind of visual support material should I include?

A. Any extra imagery, sketches or visual representations of your idea can be included. We recommend providing at least four supporting additional visuals to your main design.

Q. Do I need to be able to use Adobe Photoshop to submit?

A. No, you can also apply your artwork to the PDF versions of the files. Alternatively, you can submit digitised versions of your artwork (eg. A photo) instead, but we’d like you to indicate colour palette and an tram layout. Please submit as .JPG, .PNG, .TIFF, .GIF, or .PDF.

Q. How many designs do I need to submit?

A. You will need to submit two (2) files in total. There are four (4) art trams of different types: B-Class, C1-Class, D1-Class and D2-Class. If successful, the curator will advise you on which tram type your work will be featured on to complete the final artwork.

Q. How will the artworks be installed?

A. Artwork will be installed and managed by Yarra Trams in collaboration with the curator and artists. At the end of the project run, artwork vinyl will be removed from the tram and cannot be reinstated.

Q. How will my artwork be acknowledged on the tram?

A. Information panels about the artist and the work will be displayed inside the tram. The artist will be acknowledged on the RISING website and in any other marketing or promotional material specific to this project produced after festival.

Q. If my artwork is selected, do I retain the copyright?

A. Yes—your artwork copyright will remain with you (the artist) at all times. RISING, Creative Victoria, Department of Transport and Yarra Trams retain the right to use images of the wrapped tram in future promotions of the Melbourne Art Trams project. Every effort will be made to acknowledge the artist in any use of images.

Subscribe to RISING

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use apply.
    Principal public partners
    Creative Victoria
    Visit Victoria