Image: Jo Lane, ‘tendrils’ 2017, photography, drawing on paper, video. From ‘Against Static’, UK 2018 [page header only, no relation to this TREE project]

“More than a decade of drought, severe water restrictions and periods of extreme heat, combined with an ageing tree stock, have put our trees under immense stress and many are now in a state of accelerated decline…Combined with this loss, Melbourne’s urban forest is facing two significant future challenges: climate change and urban growth.”

Introduction to City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Project

CLIMARTE is seeking artworks that depict and communicate a City of Melbourne’s tree and its experience of life.  Trees face a dangerously warming world, among other threats. Life has a layered dialogue with trees in the city context. Trees in urban settings have circumstances not experienced by trees in non urban environments.

Offering shade, oxygen, habitat, comfort, beauty and more, day in day out, year after year, the City of Melbourne’s 70,000+ trees are an extraordinary, silent ‘asset’.

CLIMARTE is calling for artworks of and about a tree; a tree from the City of Melbourne’s celebrated Urban Forest project.


Using the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Visual as a guide, artists are invited to create a work that honours and advocate for a particular tree living in the City of Melbourne.

Artists are encouraged to consider the City of Melbourne’s trees on a micro and macro scale, addressing aspects such as (but not limited to) their roles in:

●      cooling the city

●      cleansing the air while absorbing carbon dioxide and generating oxygen

●      acting as networks supporting local flora and fauna

●      mirroring all life systems (ie sap acts like mammal blood, communications like nervous systems, leaves act like lungs)

●      providing exquisite examples of fractal patterning as they grow and expand; and

●      serving as invaluable landmarks that interface with CoM buildings from all architectural periods and the built environment generally.

There are multiple resources available for you to use as references for your work at the websites linked in this document.

In consultation with CLIMARTE, artists will be provided with an opportunity to learn from scientists and arborists who can help them better understand the critical roles played by trees.

Just for inspirational interest we have pleasure putting these links here:

Trees at Night: Rebecca Solnit Reads and Reflects on a Stunning Century-Old Poem by the Young Harlem Renaissance Poet Helene Johnson


●      Submissions must include 3 images of past or current work at 72dpi, each no larger than 1 mg, a written description of the idea within the email message window no longer than 400 words, and sketch drawing of your concept, also 72 dpi no larger than 1mg.  Collaborations are accepted.

NOTE: final works can be submitted in the first instance – the long lead time after selection was included for artist wishing to see a tree through seasons.

●      Final Medium: Our preference is for the completed, exhibition ready artworks to be on paper. They can be in any medium, drawing, photography, print, paint or mixed media and be 120cm maximum for any one dimension or 120cm square.

●      Alternatives (sculpture, audio, video, multimedia, word) will be considered but not preferred.

●      Twenty five artworks will be selected with artists receiving $600 per work. Payments will be made in two installments; a fee of $300 upon selection and the remaining $300 paid upon completion of the exhibition.

●      Completed artworks must be provided as a high resolution image in JPEG format (300dpi at 40cm) as well as the original work for exhibition.

●      The collection of 25 artworks will be exhibited in at least one central venue in the City of Melbourne, 45Downstairs, Flinders Lane, Melbourne, from 11th October 2022. (there may be one after that also)

●      Artworks can be submitted framed or unframed (note that framed works may present better in the gallery).

●      Artworks can be available for sale in the exhibition.

●      In the event of the artwork selling, the second payment of $300 will be withheld and a 30 per cent commission on the sale will go towards supporting CLIMARTE’s ongoing work.

●      Images of the selected artworks will be published on its website, in a CLIMARTE book and postcard set.

●      The copyright of artworks resides with the artist and, with the exception of the above mentioned book and postcards, any further publication of images of artwork would be negotiated.

●      Public events, including but not limited to a launch and an artist talk, will be held in association with the exhibition and artists are encouraged to attend if possible.

●      Submissions will be accepted from Australian artists only. To assist artists outside Melbourne wishing to submit, upon request, CLIMARTE will provide images of specific trees identified from the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Visual map, and are open to Whatsapp video calls at the tree site.

●      Submissions received will inform the final title of the exhibition.


●      Call out: 23rd May 2022

●      Submissions due: 9am, 4th July 2022. Emailed to:

●      Selections notified by: 15th July 2022

●      Final artworks due 16th September 2022

●      Image delivery for publication may be earlier (TBA)

●      Exhibition dates: October 11th to 22nd 2022 at fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne   >


Submissions will be assessed by a panel,  composed of CLIMARTE personnel, Tim Entwisle, Director and Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Councillor Jamal Hakim, portfolio lead for Creative Melbourne and deputy portfolio lead for City Activation and Health, Wellbeing and Belonging, Guy Abrahams, CLIMARTE Ambassador, an invited assessor and a practicing artist (TBA).

This is a unique project that creatively depicts and celebrates Melbourne's trees and raises awareness of the City of Melbourne’s critically important Urban Forest Strategy.

In the context of the Climate Emergency, the aim of this project is to enable artists and audiences to imagine Melbourne life through the perspective of its trees, to create a new awareness of urban trees and to understand their critical importance to all life in the city.

TREE is made possible through a City of Melbourne Arts and Creative Investment Partnerships project grant for 2022.

Any queries to:


We thank the City of Melbourne

TREE is made possible through a City of Melbourne Arts and Creative Investment Partnerships project grant.