Art in the Time of COVID-19

Nillumbik Shire Council is proud to support its vibrant arts and cultural community with our Art in the Time of COVID-19 program.

In May 2020, artists of all mediums were invited to apply for employment opportunities through Live Streaming in the Time of COVID-19, Art in the Time of COVID-19 and Written in the Time of COVID-19.

Overall, Council received 356 applications from artists both locally and across the country, underscoring the appeal of the program and the great need within the sector during the pandemic.

Members from Council’s Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee sat on three different selection panels awarding 163 artists a commission through the program. This represented significant investment into the arts and culture sector by Council at a critical juncture for the industry.

The program will deliver a suite of 'Live Stream' art activities that are viewable via Council's Nillumbik Arts social media channels, multiple temporary public art text base installations onto Council footpaths across the Shire, an anthology of 80 writers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through micro fiction and a large scale regionally significant exhibition 'Art in the Time of COVID-19' at Montsalvat in February 2021.


Art in the Time of COVID-19

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 Image Courtesy of Michelle Hamer

The opening months of 2020 ushered in the one of the greatest challenges of our times – the highly infectious viral pandemic COVID-19 (Coronavirus) that has been sweeping the globe and has forced the world’s population into physical isolation. As a community we have experienced unprecedented social, economic, cultural and political upheaval that is transforming the way in which we communicate and engage with our world.

Artists are the keen observers and expressive commentators regarding the pressing issues that influence contemporary society, and in response Nillumbik Shire Council has commissioned 40 local and national artists to create new artworks in a variety of mediums including painting, photography, printmaking, drawing, textile, sculpture, installation and video that respond to the theme ‘Art in the Time of COVID-19’. Commissioned artworks will be on exhibition at Montsalvat.

Exhibiting Artists:

We are delighted to announce that the following artists have been successfully commissioned for 'Art in the Time of COVID-19'

Local Category:

Elisabeth Bromley_Kulugitago, Michelle Caithness and Clive Murray-White, Jonathan Crowther, Karena Goldfinch, Lana de Jager, Carl de Jager, Siri Hayes, Emmy Mavroidis, James McMurtrie and Angela Nagel, Mandy Ord, Camilla Tadich, Ronak Taher, Melisa Savickas, Tara Stubley, Jennifer Dellaportas, Peter Wegner and Gali Weiss.

Open Category:

Dale Collier, Jane Crappsley, Fan Dongwang, Minna Gilligan, Tyler Grace, Michelle Hamer, Spencer Harrison, Paul Kalemba, Robbie Karmel, Deb Mcfadzean, Anna McDermott, Valentina Palonen, Jenny Pollak, Zorica Purlija, Greer Townshend, Luigi Vescio, James Voller and Joel Zika, Liz Walker, and Yu Fang Chi.

Exhibition dates: Friday 5 February 2021 – Monday 5 April 2021

Exhibition venue: Montsalvat, 7 Hillcrest Ave, Eltham, Victoria, 3095 Phone: (03) 9439 7712

Book your ticket here 

Entry Fees:

Adults $14.00

Concessions $10.00

Children under 5: free entry

Children aged 5-12 $8.00

Families $35.00 (2 adults & up to 3 children under 13)

Group (10-20) $12.00 / Group (20+) $10.00

All proceeds go to Montsalvat

Sponsored by the Diamond Creek, Hurstbridge and Eltham Community Branches of the Bendigo Bank

 For more information please contact Simon Doyle, Coordinator Arts and Cultural Development, or (03) 9433 3758.


Written in the Time of COVID-19

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At the height of the isolation during the stage 1 COVID-19 response, we asked writers to reflect on their experiences, and chose twenty short texts to be reproduced as temporary public artworks around the Shire.

Close to 200 submissions were received from writers in response to a call for short texts that captured the many moods of the pandemic.

Twenty pieces were chosen, by a panel from Council’s Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee, for temporary reproduction on Nillumbik’s trails and walkways, where they can be enjoyed by people out walking - an important recreation in this time of social distancing.

The response was so overwhelming that we will now produce an anthology capturing the challenges, heartaches, humour and unexpected lightness of the pandemic, and its impacts.

Written in the Time of COVID-19 stencil locations

Stencils are being rolled out in the following locations:

  • Diamond Creek Trail, Eltham North (near Edendale car park & towards the adventure playground)
  • Lower trails adjacent to Wittingham Circuit, Greensborough (between the Library and the Bypass)
  • Diamond Creek Reserve at Watkins St, Diamond Creek Trail
  • Caledonia St, St Andrews, Paved pathway section to South-west of the Community Centre
  • Graysharps Rd Footpath, Hurstbridge (near the Station carpark)

Written in the Time of COVID-19 People’s Choice Award

To vote in the ‘People’s Choice Award’, take a photo of your favourite text when you see the stencil at one of the above locations, then post an image of the text with the hashtag '#WITTOC' on Facebook and/or Instagram. Make sure your post is public so that we can see it! By posting your selection you could be in the running for a free copy of the print anthology (see below).

Written in the Time of COVID-19 Anthology

We hope to have the Written in the Time of COVID-19 anthology available to purchase online, as a paperback and e-book in August 2020. We’ll continue to post updates to this website and the Nillumbik Arts Facebook page.

For more information contact Richard Holt, Arts Development Officer, (03) 9433 3126.

Live Streamed in the Time of COVID-19

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During ‘LIVE JULY’, from 1 to 31 July 2020, Council will support 47 artists over 36 events through its live-streaming program bringing arts and cultural activities into the homes of residents and the wider public via the Nillumbik Arts social media channels.

There will be a plethora of activities on offer from performances of classical piano, singer-songwriter sets and jazz to workshops around photography, music lessons, screen writing, etching and tours of artist’s studios.

To see what’s on offer check out the program below or visit

For more information contact Ali Griffin, Exhibition Support Officer, (03) 9433 3359