About Moving Galleries

Philosophy

Moving Galleries aim is to reach and engage an extensive and diverse community in the course of daily life by ‘moving Melbourne through art and poetry’. Through partnerships with Victorian arts organisations, Moving Galleries is expanding access to the public of the innovative creative arts projects and initiatives that exist within Melbourne and Victoria. As the poetry section of Moving Galleries is open for public submission, both professional and novice poets have been selected for publication. The poetry provides the commuting public with a snapshot of Victoria’s literary talent.

Every city has its public transport system, but Melbourne, through such cultural programs as Moving Galleries, aims to move culture through and within its structure, shaping Melbourne as a city. The project reflects its creative use of public spaces, making art and literature accessible to everyone, reinforcing Melbourne as the nation’s cultural and creative capital and most liveable city.

History

The inspiration for Moving Galleries came from public transport art and poetry initiatives from other countries. The oldest and most established initiative is ‘Poetry on the Underground’, launched in London in 1986. The success of the London project led to similar poetry and art initiatives involving established and emerging artists throughout Britain, Europe and the USA.

Moving Galleries was initiated in 2005 by the Committee for Melbourne’s business leadership program, the Future Focus Group, in conjunction with a group of poets and Art Education Victoria. The Committee for Melbourne gathered a team of volunteers who created a non-profit project to foster emerging Victorian artistic talent and make creativity accessible in Melbourne’s public spaces. The first Moving Galleries featured parallel programming of both student artwork, and public poetry on the Melbourne train system and saw 480 artworks travel around Melbourne on 20 Connex trains. 

Overwhelming community appreciation and support for Moving Galleries subsequently attracted funding to the project. In 2007, the project secured long-term funding enabling it to evolve from a ‘one-off’ exhibition to into an ongoing non-profit initiative dedicated to promoting creativity in Melbourne’s public spaces.

Moving Galleries has since grown to become an important part of the Victorian cultural landscape.

Moving Galleries is generously supported by the Victorian Government’s Department of Transport and our project partners.

Moving Galleries Advisory Board

Moving Galleries Australia Pty Ltd is managed by a voluntary advisory board. The Advisory Board is committed to seeing Moving Galleries become a significant part of Melbourne’s public transport system for many years to come. Read more about the work of the Advisory Board and its members.

Similar initiatives around the world

Poetry in London ‘Poems on the Underground’, launched in 1986, was by 2000 recorded as bringing poetry to 3.5 million passengers traveling each day on the London Underground, the city’s suburban train network. 

Art in London ‘Art on the Underground, is another initiative of the London Underground which has been commissioning publicity posters from artists and designers since 1908. The dynamic ‘Art on the Underground’ is a public art program entertaining passengers as they travel.

Poetry in New York ‘Poetry in Motion’, started in 1992 by the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA), continues to this day with representatives from the MTA and the Poetry Society of America collaborating on the selection of poems for New York’s commuting audience. 

Art in New York ‘Arts for Transit’, encourages the use of public transit by presenting visual and performing arts projects in subway and commuter rail stations. The Permanent Art Program, with MTA’s ‘Arts for Transit’, commissions artists to create site-specific permanent artwork to rehabilitate stations within the transit network. Artists are selected through competitive processes and via open calls to artists for submissions of project proposals.

Art in Stockholm Since the 1940s when the first metro lines of Stockholm’s railway system were constructed, the Stockholm metro has used artwork to create an attractive and stimulating environment for commuters