Struggling Melbourne artists are transforming 40 laneways ‘into an art gallery’

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Struggling Melbourne artists are transforming 40 laneways ‘into an art gallery’

Melbourne laneways

150 Melbourne artists who would otherwise have been unemployed have been hired to decorate 40 laneways across the city.

The Melbourne laneways rejuvenation project is part of the Flash Forward program, which has been aimed at keeping artists, musicians and other creative professionals working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

This particular facet of the program is turning Melbourne’s laneways into some of the city’s newest and most exciting public art attractions.

What you need to know

  • The Flash Forward program’s rejuvenation project is decorating 40 Melbourne laneways
  • 150 artists will be employed, with 20 laneways already finished
  • It’s part of a $500 million state government and Melbourne council partnership

Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.

40 laneways in total are being rejuvenated by more than 150 creative professionals who would otherwise have been without work during the pandemic. The jobs are being supported by a $500 million state government package.

Creatives have now completed artwork and installations in 20 laneways as part of the Flash Forward program, with five works recently completed at Langs Lane, Rose Lane, Platypus Alley, Rainbow Alley, and Drewery Alley.

Work is now underway in other laneways around the CBD as the city prepares to welcome back visitors as vaccination targets are reached.

The program has been critical to keeping creative professionals such as Shawn Lu in paid work, who recently finished his artwork in Langs Lane. Inspired by rugged terrain, the new-look laneway draws its viewers into a fantastical wonderland, evoking memories of old European landscapes and fairy tales.

“My normal sales and income that came from murals or commissioned artwork had completely disappeared overnight, so this initiative has been a lifesaver, and I’m not the only artist to say that,” he says.

“This has been a big help with my mental health, it boosted my confidence and helped me get back on my feet.”

“We’re doing everything we can to bring people into the city safely as restrictions ease, and what better way than by transforming the city into an outdoor art gallery,” lord mayor Sally Capp said.

“These new Flash Forward artworks present diverse perspectives while transforming our city with extraordinary walls of colour. If the CBD is in your 15km radius, we’d love to welcome you back to get your culture fix, off-screen.”

For more information on these employment programs, visit