ArtPlay ByKidsForKids. Photo – Pia Johnson

As part of the 20-year anniversary, ArtPlay will bring back some of its favourite programs throughout 2024 – events and workshops that empower children to express a realm of creative possibilities.

Since 2004, the City of Melbourne’s ArtPlay has inspired next-gen creatives to dream large and exchange ideas with artists.

Recognised as a global innovator, ArtPlay has enchanted young people, families and artists to share and create experiences such as theatre, animation, visual art, sound-making and sculpture. 

The 20-year celebrations will kick off with Wild City by Kathy Holowko, a mini-city exhibition developed in 2018 through ArtPlay’s new work development program, New Ideas Lab. Wild City is an award-winning work, where children have created a thriving metropolis that responds to real and inspiring stories of urban ecology.

Throughout 2024 families can visit ArtPlay to try four New Ideas Lab projects, including cooking up a storm in Maa Maa and Nonna’s Kitchen. Other projects in development include Then What?!, a super-fun storytelling game; The Censor, a world where no books are banned; and Endling, that creates a safe, sustainable environment for the last living creature of its kind.

In partnership with The House of Muchness, ArtPlay supports an ensemble of young idea makers and cultural ambassadors called the By Kids for Kids Collective, who have designed fun and impactful creative adventures for other children.

In July the By Kids for Kids Collective will bring back The World is Lava, an obstacle course where trophies are awarded for surviving daily life and Can Everyone Please Calm Down?, featuring a range of chillax stations designed to achieve maximum calm, peace and serenity.

From August Rain by SEAM, Drop Bear Theatre and Threshold will return to ArtPlay after national and international tours. Initially developed as a theatre performance in 2013 through the New Ideas Lab, Rain will now be presented as an installation for parents with babies and pre-schoolers to experience the mesmerising sounds and wet embrace of rain.

ArtPlay turns 20

For two decades, over 275,000 participants have flocked to ArtPlay to experience over 4,500 art experiences.

Every year kids can engage with up to 300 free or affordable workshops, events, immersive installations and performances at the Birrarung Marr venue behind Fed Square or through other innovative online digital offerings.    

Over the years ArtPlay has engaged with over 2,500 artists, partnered with more than 300 arts programs and collaborated with 50 festivals to develop a range of stimulating arts experiences for children and families.

ArtPlay has co-commissioned several critically acclaimed projects, including Polyglot Theatre’s Tangle as part of Moomba Festival in 2011, Crumbs with YIRRAMBOI First Nations Arts Festival in 2021 and The Rainbow Tree with Midsumma Festival also in 2021.

Strong global connections are often forged with ArtPlay, including the Shadows Project, an ongoing cultural exchange with Jeonju Cultural Foundation in Korea. ArtPlay also partnered with Melbourne Fringe to create the immersive installation, The Little Nests, with Papermoon Puppet Theatre in Indonesia and The Artground in Singapore.

The City of Melbourne has contributed over $25 million across 20 years to support creative initiatives for children through ArtPlay programs, including $2.1 million for the development of 60 new commissions through the New Ideas Lab incubator.

For more information on ArtPlay’s 2024 program, visit

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