Best Cultural or Arts Event

17 Biennale of Sydney

Biennale of Sydney Ltd

The Biennale of Sydney is Australia’s most popular and recognisable visual arts event. The inaugural Biennale was held in 1973 as part of the opening celebrations of the Sydney Opera House and the 17th event marked the 37th year of excellence and pioneering.

The 17th Biennale exhibition and programs were presented free to the public and witnessed record attendance of more than 517,000 visits – a 19% increase on 2008, which was a 38% increase on 2006. During the exhibition period, over 300 free programs and events were held including artist talks, forums, performances, children’s programs, teacher tours, lectures, disability access tours, film program, guided exhibition tours and the SuperDeluxe@Artspace performance program.

The exhibition showcased 167 international and Australian artists from 36 countries with over 100 artists travelling to Sydney. A total of 444 works were exhibited including new works by 68 artists.

The 17th Biennale consolidated the pioneering use of Cockatoo Island which hosted 120 works by 56 artists and attracted over 157,000 visits – a phenomenal 82% increase on the inaugural use for the 16th event in 2008.

The Biennale produced free resources including a 94-page guide, a 24-page student newspaper, a 40-page Teachers’ Kit, audio tours and videos of artist interviews, talks, performances and installation footage.

Fundraising for the 17th Biennale began in 2008 at the height of the recent Global Financial Crisis. Despite the economic climate, the Biennale’s revenues are 40% ahead of budget and 7.5% ahead of the funds raised for the previous event in 2008.

The 17th Biennale will have resounding long-term benefits including fostering a greater appreciation for the arts, particularly contemporary art, in the general population by presenting free and accessible events – allowing people to engage with the arts and to enjoy a rich cultural life.


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