Skip to main content

Artists Studio Program

Applications now closed

Exterior view of an old mansion.

At the 23 June 2022 meeting of Council a report was presented regarding the future of Billilla. Council was unanimous in its decision to adopt the first recommendation, approving the future use of Billilla as a centre for:

• creativity, culture and the arts

• hospitality and events

• learning opportunities

• social enterprise and volunteer activities

Applications for the 2023 Billilla Artists Studio Program are now closed

Find out about

About the program

The Billilla Artists Studio program offers free studio space for 12 months to artists from across Victoria and Bayside. The program supports artists from diverse practices and across career stages. Located in Brighton, the program provides an opportunity for artists to connect with local communities through public programs as well as develop their practice without the financial pressure of paying studio rent.

A Key Priority under Theme 5 of Bayside’s Community Vision 2050 is Nurturing Creativity.

Council seeks to create an environment where creativity is encouraged and celebrated. This includes establishing formal and informal spaces that foster creative endeavours, promote celebration and bring people together in creative pursuits. By fostering accessible cultural and arts programs and activities Council provides opportunities for creative expression and engagement for all residents.

Council is now seeking high quality applications from people active in the arts sector, including artists, writers, composers, filmmakers, sculptors, performers, designers etc. Seven servant quarters at the rear of the historical Billilla Mansion have been converted into basic studios with access from 8am to 10pm seven days a week from 1 January to 31 December 2023.

Meet our 2023 Billilla Studio Artists


Billilla studio spaces

The studios are all part of a heritage building and although refitted as workspaces there is no heating/air-conditioning and there is limited insulation against heat and cold; all studios have power and lighting. There is a portable wireless device situated in the old kitchen at the rear of the mansion which is accessible to all Billilla Studio artists but there is no WIFI access in the studios. Some of the studios take their name from prominent artists who lived and worked in the Bayside area.

The gardens surrounding the mansion are open to the public.

Beckett Studio (named after tonalist painter, Clarice Beckett)

This studio consists of 3 small adjoining rooms. The space measures 9m x 2.5m and includes a sink and running water. Suitable for painters working on a small to medium scale.

Grainger Studio (named after composer and artist, Percy Grainger)

Dimensions 3.5 m x 3.5 m and includes a sink and running water. Suitable for composers and musicians and most types of practices excluding large scale work.

Marshall Studio (named after writer, Alan Marshall)

Dimensions 3.5 m x 3.5m. Most suited to writers and/or playwrights as has no running water or sink.

Laundry Studio

This studio is located within the footprint of the Mansion and includes permanent fixtures and equipment from the days of its original use. This studio measures 5m x 4m and has a sink and running water. Suitable for most types of practices excluding large scale work.

Parr Studio (named after sculptor, Lenton Parr)

Dimensions 5.3m x 5.4m and includes use of the fenced yard making it suitable for large scale work. There is a sink and running water. Hot work is not permitted on site.

Tayler Studio (named after architect, Lloyd Tayler)

Dimensions 5.2m x 3.7 m including a small storage area. Located in a standalone building, has a sink and running water. Limited natural light but suitable for most practices including larger scale works.

Traill Studios (named after artist, Jessie Traill)

This studio is attached to the mansion and is located upstairs on the first floor, it measures 5m x 4m.  There is no sink and running water in the studio and access is through the kitchen area which is a common space on the ground floor.

Artist testimonials 

"As an artist-in-residence at Billilla Historic Mansion for the Bayside Council, I was given the gifts of both time and space. I was able to sit quietly with questions in addition to making the art which attempts to answer them. The room, evocative of a time which lived at another pace, provided the frame while the gardens, in their various seasonal perfections, offered a sense of place. My time at Billilla was a gift for which I am still grateful." 

Joiwind Lowe, Artist in Residence 2019


"It is a joy to arrive at your Billilla studio at any time of day, at any time of year. To get there, you have to walk across lawns that stretch between manicured gardens and pass beneath ancient oak trees. Maybe, before starting work, you might like to drop into the historic Mansion kitchen that’s exclusively for Artists to use and have a cup of tea and say hello to other Artists that might also be there. If you step outside at any time of day be prepared to say hi to the local residents; they know Billilla is for Artists and they love having you there. You’ll get to know quite a few if you want to. And be ready for offers from the team at the Bayside Gallery to get involved with programs and activities. They like to support Billilla artists too. It’s a wonderful place to have a residency and best of all its free. What could be better than that?"

Adrian Spurr, Artist in Residence 2020 – 2021


Qualifying requirements

Applicants must meet the following requirements before being eligible to be considered for a studio:

  • Tertiary qualification in their related practice/field;
  • Currently active in the arts sector [i.e. your CV must display evidence of the currency of your practice, for example, recent exhibitions, performances, published writing etc.];
  • Art form is suitable for the studio placement;
  • A commitment to engaging in a public program or community engagement activity during the year. As part of the application process you will be required to submit your idea for a public program or community engagement activity. Previous artists have delivered workshops, talks, studio visits (including talks to students), concerts etc.

Assessment criteria

If eligible, applications will be considered against the following assessment criteria:

  • Quality of the artist’s practice ability to stimulate and engage; demonstrate a creative approach and high level of technical competency;
  • Use of the studio space – it is important for Council that the spaces are used on a regular basis;
  • Public engagement proposal – quality of the activity/program being offered and consideration of your audience in relation to your practice. The Education and Community Engagement Officer, Arts and Culture, will support the delivery of the public program/activity.

Bayside Local

  • A minimum of 3 studio spaces have been set aside for Bayside residents who meet the qualification requirements. Scores against the assessment criteria will determine the allocation of these spaces to local artists.

Application process

Applicants are asked to complete all sections of the form and where indicated present additional information as requested.

Non-complying and incomplete applications will be rejected. Applications will be evaluated against the Assessment Criteria and assessed by Council officers using a point scoring system based on: 

  • Evidence of quality of artistic practice
  • Overall expected benefits for the community through public engagement
  • Ability to increase activation of the studio space 

Applications will be assessed for eligibility by the Arts Administration Officer. If eligible, applications will be assessed by the Curator/Team Leader Bayside Gallery and Education and Community Engagement Officer against the criteria and a short-list of 7 artists will be referred to the Arts and Culture Coordinator.

The Arts and Culture Coordinator will recommend the seven Billilla Studio artists to be approved by the Bayside Arts & Gallery Advisory Committee.

All applicants will be advised of the outcome of their application.

Successful applicants will be invited to the Bayside Gallery to celebrate their success at an appropriate event.


Subscribe to the Arts eNewsletter