26 Jul 2017

The Macfarlane Commissions at ACCA

The Macfarlane Commissions are a Biennial Commission Award to be developed in collaboration with The Macfarlane Fund and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, specifically designed for mid-career artists.

Every second year for a period of six years, five Australian artists will be invited by the ACCA curatorial team to make a large-scale new work that will be shown in this prestigious and nationally recognised gallery.

The inaugural Macfarlane Commission recipients will be announced in November, 2017, with the first exhibition scheduled to open in December 2018.

“Like ACCA, the Macfarlane Fund is committed to creating programs that are innovative and ambitious, and, importantly, deliver an extraordinary impact on the career and life of an artist. We are thrilled to collaborate with Macfarlane Fund on this exciting new program,” said Max Delany, ACCA Artistic Director/CEO. “We hope these commissions create career-defining moments for the artists involved, and great new experiences for our audiences.”


A new philanthropic fund established to honor the life of respected Melbourne businessman Donald (Don) Macfarlane who, throughout his life, took immense pleasure in the arts.

Don Macfarlane (25.7.1939 – 11.6.2016) was the Managing Director of the Amcor Group and an active member of the Melbourne business and wider community. Chair of Leadership Victoria and a committed supporter of St Kilda’s Sacred Heart Mission, Don was known for his exceptional intellect, a non-conformist approach to business leadership, and visionary community involvement.

Throughout his life and especially in retirement, he nurtured a deep interest and engagement with the arts, and was an accomplished painter, artistic mentor and musician. He also developed a long-term plan to establish a philanthropic fund to offer financial support to artists at all levels, and to address perceived deficiencies in the local and national funding and philanthropic sector.

The Macfarlane Fund, established on his passing by Don Macfarlane’s wife Helen and daughter, Victorian publican and businesswoman Melissa Macfarlane, honors these long-term plans.

The Macfarlane Fund’s primary focus is to offer financial support across the career span of artists, with three main funding streams developed at graduate, mid-career and senior levels. In addition a discretionary fund is available for one-off donations for special projects considered to be worthy or important.

Managed by a Board, with decisions made through a separate Advisory Committee made up of members of the national visual arts community, the Fund will also strive to foster relationships between recipients, and in time form an actively connected and nurturing alumni of artists.

Underpinning its development is a rigorous approach to decision-making, and a commitment to being flexible, effective and responsive to artistic practice and initiatives in a way that challenges established modes of giving.

Read about the full program for The Macfarlane Fund in this media release