Light on the horizon – Amid the uncertainty, an ambitious new cultural festival ascends, establishing a 2-million-dollar commission fund for Victorian artists.

During this time of profound and powerful change, the promise of an entirely new arts experience stirs. Running from 26 May to 6 June 2021, Melbourne’s newest annual arts festival, RISING, will invite audiences to celebrate the night with a surge of art, music and ceremony in the heart of the city.

Established as one of the world’s most engaging and liveable cities, Melbourne sees artistic experiences permeate and punctuate every aspect of life. A new major event for the Asia Pacific region, RISING is set to further reflect and elevate Melbourne’s status as a leading cultural destination.

RISING’s recently appointed co-Artistic Directors Gideon Obarzanek and Hannah Fox have together set out a vision for the festival to be a generator of powerful artistic and social experiences and now, as the entire planet witnesses a profound disruption to modern life, the duo is even more determined to create opportunities for artists and bring audiences together.

As the world enters a period of recovery and regeneration, RISING – which will take the place of Melbourne International Arts Festival and White Night Melbourne in Victoria’s events calendar – will look to play a vital role in helping to re-stitch Australia’s cultural landscape with a grand vision that will bring the best of Victorian talent to audiences across the city.

To support this vision, Fox and Obarzanek have this week announced a major and immediate investment in Victorian artists. RISING – the inaugural event of which was planned for 2020 and is now scheduled for winter 2021 – will invest $2m in local artists to develop shows, exhibitions and events for inclusion in the festival’s program.

Fox and Obarzanek, themselves practising Melbourne artists, said that the funding represents a substantial investment into Victoria’s creative sector and will help shape the outcomes of future festivals.

Consisting of a diverse team of national and international arts professionals, RISING’s curatorial advisory group will assess all submissions for the 2021 festival following an open EOI process.

The group comprises Genevieve Lacey (Artist & Curator), Woody McDonald (RISING Music Curator), Amrita Hepi (Artist), Jeff Kahn (Artistic Director, Performance Space), Daniel Browning (Artist & Curator), Kimberley Moulton (Curator), Michael Morris (Co-Director, Artangel, London), Stefan Schmidtke (Artistic Director, Theater der Welt, Düsseldorf) and Rachel Chanoff (Director, The Office, NYC).

Not only will the panel look to identify new Victorian work to premiere at RISING 2021, it will also facilitate co-investments and future iterations for these works to be shown in other parts of Australia and abroad.

Artists can visit for more information on the application process.