Brisbane Festival Giving Program and the gentle art of philanthropy

20 Oct

Brisbane Festival Giving Program and the gentle art of philanthropy

It takes a city to raise a world-class event like Brisbane Festival – a city full of not only artists and arts-lovers but also the arts patrons whose generous support gives life to new works.

The Brisbane Festival Giving Program has raised $2.3M since its inception in 2016 through a diverse group of financial donors who contribute to Brisbane Festival’s ongoing success and ability to present innovative artistic works.

Festival donors make it happen

Fabienne Cooke
Brisbane Festival Head of Philanthropy

"Donors have the ability to help anyone. Often, it is an artist who is creating work that resonates with them in some way. Always, it is a valuable and rewarding connection in both directions."

A broad demographic of Giving Program donors enables Brisbane Festival to commission new work that wouldn’t otherwise be brought to an audience.

This year, philanthropy has supported the development of Brisbane Festival productions such as Ishmael, Let’s Be Friends Furever, Trent Dalton's Boy Swallows Universe, RED, First Nations Fashion: Walking in Two Worlds, Skyfall and more. 

Chair of the Brisbane Festival Giving Program Thomas Bradley believes a certain level of creative work needs to be being developed in a city for it to become a self-sustainable industry.

"We have to get the city to a critical mass," Thomas says.

"It’s a bit like a chain reaction; it’s not enough to be doing a few small things. You need to have things done at a scale that allows people who have these skills and talents to actually make a living in the arts."

Trent Dalton's Boy Swallows Universe adapted for the stage by Tim McGarry.



Let's Be Friends Furever

​The Giving Program continues a long tradition of public figures and private citizens funding the arts​.

Since ancient times, rulers, nobles and the wealthy elite have been patrons of the arts and artists, responsible for some of history’s most significant works.

Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Pope Julius II, one of history’s prolific arts patrons, and French art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel was the first to fund artists like Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Pierre August Renoir, recognising the early potential of Impressionism in the 19th century. 

The Giving Program supports local artists to produce new work and it brings to Brisbane significant works developed elsewhere, inviting people to experience shows and works they may not otherwise be able to see.

Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina says Giving Program donors are essential to sustaining the vitality and vibrancy of arts and culture in Brisbane.  

"By making these works available to the general Brisbane community, we really do transform the place and we make this city where we live into a better place," Louise says.

"It makes us think more deeply and perhaps differently about ourselves, other people and the world we live in. Through thinking about those things, we can become better people."

#Brisbane Festival
Giving Program

Brisbane Festival expresses deep respect to and acknowledges the First People of this Country.