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Artists Studio Program application guidelines

Each year we invite visual artists, sculptors, writers, composers, filmmakers and multimedia artists to apply for free studio space for 12 months from July to June. The artists studio program offers seven work spaces set in the grounds of historic Billilla Mansion in Brighton.  

Program purpose

To support the development of new works by contemporary artists in the garden setting of Billilla Mansion, one of our historic properties, and:

  • To connect our community with contemporary artists.
  • To provide our community opportunities to participate in local contemporary art projects.
  • To encourage appreciation of arts and culture.
  • To utilise art as a platform for engaging the community.

Where it is possible, the Artists Studio Program is intended to complement our existing Arts and Culture programs.


Billilla historic mansion was built by merchant Robert Wright in 1878. It was subsequently purchased by William Weatherly, a pastoralist from the Darling River area in western New South Wales in 1888. He named the property Billilla after his holding in that area and occupied the residence as his town house. Billilla remained in the possession of his family until 1972 when it was purchased by the Brighton City Council in 1973 on behalf of the citizens of Brighton. 

Billilla and the surrounding gardens are listed on the National Trust Register. The grounds are well used by locals as a public park and the mansion itself is currently occupied as a small school campus. The Artist Studio Program began 2009/2010.

Day studios

At the rear of Billilla are a collection of stand-alone buildings including the coach house, butler’s cottage, and servants’ quarters which have been converted into day studios. The Laundry studio and a first floor studio (Traill studio) are attached to the mansion. These 7 studios are available and are offered to successful applicants for 12 months from July to June annually. 

Studios have 7 day a week access from 8am to 10pm, power and lighting are provided and in some studios there is running water, in others good natural light. The buildings are heritage structures and although purpose built as workspaces and accommodation there is no heating/air-conditioning and there is limited insulation against heat and cold. Flooring is generally concrete, timber, lino, flagstones, or carpet.

site plan


This space is a common room with a tea and coffee making station and private toilet for use by the studio artists. Serviced public toilet facilities are on site within the gardens. There are no phone points or internet connection however there is a portable wireless device situated in ARTspace. There is also free internet and wireless connection is available at Brighton Library, which is a 2 minute drive from the studios. The successful artists are able to furnish the space according to their own requirements (at their own cost). The in-kind value of the space is approximately $8,000 ($5,700 rental and $2,300 utility costs). Many of the studios are named after prominent local artists.

Beckett studio

Named after the tonalist painter Clarice Beckett was previously known as ‘the dairy’. Beckett studio is 3 small adjoining rooms. The space measures 9m by 2.5m and includes a sink with running water. This studio is suited to painters working on medium scaled works.

Grainger studio

Named after composer and artist Percy Grainger. The Grainger studio measures 3.5m by 3.5m and includes a sink with running water.

Marshall studio

Names after writer Alan Marshall. This studio is located at the rear of the mansion, and measures 3.5m by 3.5m.

Laundry studio

The Laundry studio is located within the footprint of the mansion. It is full of character and still contains equipment from the days of its original use. The floor is flagstone and covered with a vinyl covering. This studio measures approximately 5m x 4m, however there are also some permanent fixtures housed in this space. It has an operational sink with hot and cold running water. 

Parr studio

Named after sculptor Lenton Parr was previously known as the ‘coach house’. The Parr studio measures 5.3m by 5.4m and includes use of the fenced yard making it particularly suitable for larger scale sculpture work. There is hot and cold running water and a sink in this studio. Special conditions for the Parr studio include:

  • Hot work (welding, oxy cutting etc) and metal cutting, grinding or polishing is not permitted within the room.

  • Hot work is also not permitted within 3m of the outbuildings.

  • The sculptor should prepare and provide appropriate JSAs, risk assessments and OH&S plans for any work that involves heavy material.

  • All materials are to be stored within the allocated space, and not outside the building.

Tayler studio

Named after renowned architect Lloyd Tayler was previously known as the ‘butler’s quarters’. The Tayler studio is a stand-alone building. It measures 5.2m by 3.7m including a small built-in storage area. It also has running water and a sink. There is limited natural light but this studio has been well utilised by painters working on large scale works.

Traill studio

Named after printmaker Jessie Traill was previously known as ‘the governess’ quarters’. The Traill studio is attached to the mansion and is located on the first floor. The entrance to the studio is through the shared community space on the ground floor (ARTspace) which has a separate entrance that leads from the grounds of Billilla Mansion. Access to the studio is via a set of stairs off ARTspace. The studio measures 5m by 4m and there is access to running water from the shared facilities of the communal space on the ground floor.

Studio Dimensions (approx) Sink Power
Beckett studio (servant quarters) 9 x 2.5m Yes Yes
Grainger studio (servant quarters) 3.5 x 3.5m Yes Yes
Laundry studio 3.5 x 3m Yes Yes
Marshall studio (servant quarters) 3.5 x 3.5m No* Yes
Parr studio (the coach house) 5.27 x 5.41m Yes Yes
Tayler studio (butler quarters) 5.2 x 3.7m Yes Yes
Traill studio (governess quarters and school room) 5 x 4m Yes



Billilla historic mansion is located at 26 Halifax Street, Brighton VIC 3186. It is within 500m of Middle Brighton Station.

Other information


Accommodation is not included as part of this program.

Public garden

The gardens surrounding the mansion and the studios are open to the general public.

Other tenants

Under a leasing arrangement, a small school occupies the historic mansion.