The time is now for CAPO applications

NOW in its 31st year, the Capital Arts Patrons’ Organisation is inviting Canberra region artists to apply for 13 arts awards + residencies with a value ranging from $500 to $25, 000—but you have only until midnight on Monday, September 15 to get your application in.

CAPO patron Paul McDermott

CAPO patron Paul McDermott

CAPO is, of course, notable as a unique collaboration between business and the arts and a form of independent philanthropic support. In the past, items offered in auction to support artists have ranged from a Harley Davidson to (“CityNews’” perennial favourite) a dinner with Bronwyn Bishop, but it is notable that in recent years most items offered for auction at the Gala CAPO night have been donated by Canberra’s visual artists.

CAPO president, Neil Doody boasts correctly, “CAPO is the longest running philanthropic arts organisation in the whole of Australia.” In Doody’s view, it is necessary to move with the time, and part of that has been to engage comedian and artist Paul McDermott as the organisation’s new patron,

McDermott, who joked to “CityNews” that Petrie Plaza was “my ancestral home,” recently said CAPO’s strategy was to take advantage of his high public profile and his connections with Canberra.

A graduate of the Canberra School of Art, he said he often came back to see his family and of course, in his earlier showbiz days, he often performed here.

Pointing to artists whose work had been donated, McDermott noted among them his old art teachers, Julie Bradley and also Robert Boynes, whose son Alex had been a more recent CAPO recipient, a sign of generational change.

CAPO’s organisers, for their part, said it prided itself fostering the very highest standards of excellence in the arts, favouring innovative endeavours that contribute to cultural development in Canberra and artists whose work will have significant cultural impact in the local community.

The organisation tends to favour applications where the grant money is to be used directly for the making of new works. That could be for the production of original work or the purchase of the means and materials (musical instruments, tools, lithographic stones etc.).

CAPO raises money through business sponsorship and donations, and through its annual art exhibition and auction, this year to be held at Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG) on Saturday, October 4, on which occasion the recipients of the 13 CAPO grants and awards for 2015 will be announced.

A bonus is that over the years, the CAPO exhibition has undoubtedly come to be regarded by critics and collectors as an important annual survey of art in the Canberra region.

An online application form and guidelines are available at

The CAPO Exhibition will be available for public viewing from Saturday, September 27 in Galleries 2 and 3 at CMAG.

The CAPO Gala and art auction, at Canberra Museum and Gallery, (CMAG) Saturday, October 4, tickets at


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