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Arts & Culture

Developing talent and nurturing the arts.
The Foundation’s Arts & Culture area of focus has three broad objectives: to support opportunities for talented artists to develop and flourish, to recognise and elevate the significant cultural influence of photography in Australia, and to enable Australian communities to experience high quality arts and cultural experiences.
Developing exceptional cultural talent
Elevating the role of photography
Supporting high quality arts and cultural programs
Developing exceptional cultural talent
The Australian Youth Orchestra provides unique and life changing opportunities for young musicians to develop their skills and experience working and performing as part of an orchestra. BFF provides scholarship support for AYO camps and the AYO overseas touring program.
Photo by Govert Driessen
Photo by Christopher Rodgers-Wilson
The Australian Ballet is one of the world’s major international ballet companies delighting audiences through the power of ballet. The Foundation has supported a number of initiatives over many years and recently created the Bowness Family Foundation Fund for Artistic Development. This fund recognises the importance of developing artists and will provide ongoing support for dancers through international coaches and teachers as well as developing local alumni to coach and teach at the Australian Ballet.
The Australian National Academy of Music is dedicated to artistic and professional development of exceptional classical musicians. Our support assists student development and their transition to a professional career by supporting local and regional performance and touring opportunities. It also supports ANAM’s alumni mentoring program, where internationally renowned graduates of ANAM provide guidance and support to current students.
2018 ANAM Rehearsal - Photo by Cameron Jamieson
Photo by Cameron Jamieson
Elevating the role of photography
William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize

The Bowness Photography Prize is a $30,000 acquisitive prize held annually by the Museum of Australian Photography. It is one of Australia’s most prestigious art prizes and is an important annual survey of contemporary photographic practices in Australia. Established in 2006 by Bill Bowness AO it is an open entry prize and showcases work by emerging and established artists. 

Anne Zahalka won the 2023 William and Winifred Bowness photography prize for her work Kunstkammer, which references the trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye) painting technique to replicate the artist’s studio.


The Museum of Australian Photography is the Australian home of photography. Located in Wheelers Hill, it is Australia’s leading public art gallery devoted to the collection and exhibition of photography and engaging local, national and international audiences in arts and cultural experiences. BFF has been a long-term supporter, providing support for exhibitions, international tours, publications, and digitisation of the collection.

PHOTO Australia is a new vision for photography in Australia. Held Biennially, Photo 2024 showcases 100 free exhibitions across Victoria, connecting Australia with the international photography community and galvanising Melbourne’s role as a global hub for photography and visual art. BFF is proud to be a founding and ongoing partner.

Photographer: Zanele Muholi | Somnyama Ngonyama Series

A BFF gift to the National Gallery of Victoria in 2008 established the Bowness Family Foundation Fund for Photography, the first endowment focused on photography. The fund has assisted in acquiring more than 50 works for the collection, including a focus on significant international photographers. Works acquired have featured in the 2017 and 2020 triennials and other exhibitions, including a major Bill Henson exhibition in 2017 and Real and Imagined in 2024.

Supporting high quality arts and cultural programs
At the heart of Melbourne’s culture of creativity, the Melbourne Festival, now reformed as Rising, curates unique local and international experiences that bring people together and break new ground in culture and the arts. We are delighted to be supporting the performance of the Back to Back Theatre Company at the 2021 Rising Festival.
FireGardens. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Photographer: David Cook
Photographer: Anne Moffat
The Abbotsford Convent’s Music in the Round Festival delivers a fresh and exciting mix of exceptional classical music performers and repertoires – from classics like Beethoven, to Australia’s leading composers – in the convent’s stunning venues. We are proud to support this Festival, which provides an opportunity for the community to engage with high quality performances in this unique venue.