Best Arts Program

Curating projects in a way that preserves individual artistic vision but also adds power to its message by rendering it part of a whole, takes creativity and a deft touch. Each of these nominees’ curatorial efforts have challenged, immersed and delighted us this past year, yielding programs that became greater than the sum of their parts.


The Countess Report

The Countess Report is a benchmarking project and vital online resource on gender equality in the Australian contemporary arts sector lead by Elvis Richardson. Just as the name suggests, their main activity is counting, analysing data on gender representation in arts education, prizes, media, exhibitions and organisations. This data provides hard evidence of the need for gender equality in the arts. Published as an accessible online resource at, this project has been a vital player in raising pressing questions and suggesting potential future remedies. 

Image: The Countess Report

Desire Lines

Desire Lines is a series which has borrowed its title from the idea of a desire line, a path created as a consequence of people straying off the set route. With a guide, audience members go on an exploratory art walk, moving through several locations often in the urban landscape, to discover artworks, performances and sonic experiences unfolding along the journey. Created and led by Sebastian Henry-Jones and Maeve Parker, each Desire Lines event is rigorously unique, and seeks to make art and performance accessible to a broad demographic of the local community.

Photo: Phil Ma

Sissy Ball

Inspired by NYC’s iconic vogue ballroom scene, Sissy Ball collides style and precision on the runway to celebrate self-expression and identity. Curated by multidisciplinary artist and House of Slé mother, Bhenji Ra, in collaboration with Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Redbull Music, the 2018 ball was a sellout event and will be returning in 2019 to high anticipation. Sissy Ball shines a spotlight on Asia Pacific’s burgeoning vouge scene, showcasing the fiercest local talent alongside legends of the vouge scene as they battle it out on the runway with dance, movement, fashion and flair.

Photo courtesy of Red Bull Australia

Parramatta Artists Studios

Parramatta Artists Studios are at the fore of contemporary artistic production. Located in the heart of Parramatta’s CBD, the studios offer affordable space to create and exhibit for emerging and established artists. Parramatta Artists Studios contribute strongly to the broader community through their annual program of events, workshops and arts activities, bringing people together through their shared desire to learn, make and share. In 2018 Parramatta Artists Studios where home to Khadim Ali, Tom Blake, Jessica Bradford, Rosie Deacon, Chris Dolman, Emma Fielden, Rebecca Gallo, Caroline Garcia, Anthony Macris, Emily Parsons-Lord, Lisa Sammut, Shireen Taweel, Garry Trinh, Justine Youssef.

Photo: Daniel Fewchuk

Campelltown Arts Centre – Real Real

The Real Real is a virtual art series that treads the blurry line between real and fake, IRL and virtual, live and prerecorded. Using the inherently performative nature of social media, Real Real utilises Facebook Live as a platform to create, share and celebrate contemporary performance. In 2018 Real Real developed and presented new performances by Anna McMahon and Brooke Stamp, Akil Ahamat, Ainslie Templeton and Athena Thebus, and Ivan Cheng, Hyun Lee and Eugene Choi. In 2019, Real Real will continue with a new group of exciting Australian performance artists.

Photo: Rafaela Pandolfini

52 Artists 52 Actions

Created by Artspace, 52 Artists 52 Actions was an ambitious year-long project which ran from January 2018 to January 2019 highlighting artistic practice across Asia. Exhibited and shared on the @52artists52actions Instagram, 52 artists and collectives stage actions in unique physical locations throughout the region, sharing them with a global digital audience. Each week different artists take over the Instagram account, sharing their projects and ideas on important concerns both locally and globally, and adding to the ever growing archive of participating artists.

Image: Abdul Halik Azeez