Our purpose

The Ian Potter Cultural Trust is committed to promoting a vibrant, diverse arts sector in Australia and encouraging the pursuit of artistic excellence. 

The Trust's approach to the development of the Arts through the support of talented individuals is unique in Australia.

Since awarding our first grants in 1993, the Trust has assisted the professional development of over 1,850 talented artists through grants totalling over $12.7 million.

Benton Spiteri as Conte Alberto in L'occasione fa il ladro (Rossini), British Youth Opera at Opera Holland Park, August 2021. Image credit: Tristram Kenton.

Benton Spiteri as Conte Alberto in L'occasione fa il ladro (Rossini), British Youth Opera at Opera Holland Park, August 2021. Image: Tristram Kenton.

Our programs

The Trust's main funding program, Emerging Artist Grants, offers grants of up to $15,000 to assist early-career artists of exceptional talent in undertaking professional development, usually overseas.

The program funds nationally and across the spectrum of the Arts, from visual to performing arts, music to literature and multimedia to design, spanning traditional art forms through to experimental mediums.

In 2023, the Trust partnered with the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) to establish the Ian Potter Emerging Performers Fellowship Program. The program will award two fellowships annually from 2024–2028 (10 fellowships in total) to support outstanding ANAM alumni in developing independent performance practices.

Instillation of moving image artwork Darling Darling. A man stand before a projected image of the Murray-Darling basin.

Darling Darling by Gabriella Hirst, IPMIC 2020 Premiere at ACMI. Image credit: Phoebe Powell.

The Trust has also funded two Art Commission series: one for music composition and one for moving image works (IPMIC). 

Each commission series spanned 10 years and responded to gaps and opportunities for mid-career artists while supporting art forms considered to benefit most from such an investment.

In the 1980s, The Ian Potter Foundation (which funds the Trust) also supported the acquisition of a series of sculpture acquisitions, including a number of original works now housed at The National Gallery of Victoria. Probably the best-known sculpture acquired is the Hand of God., now situated on the lawns of The Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne.

Funding principles

The Trust's funding is governed by a commitment to excellence. We support individuals who are passionate about their work and have the potential to be outstanding in their field in an international context.

The Ian Potter Cultural Trust receives all of its funding from The Ian Potter Foundation and embodies the vision of the Foundation for a fair, healthy, sustainable and vibrant Australia.