SOAPBOX billboards

Public art programs

From Soapbox #4, Elder/HOOD, which featured images and quotes from the Elder/HOOD project by Andrew Wilson.

SOAPBOX is an ongoing City of Hobart initiative that gives a voice to writers and artists from the community.

SOAPBOX billboards are located at Mathers Place: in Criterion Lane, on the rear wall of the State Library and the side of the Playhouse Theatre. They are updated regularly, and over time, the program will provide an opportunity to showcase ideas about the city.

There are four iterations of SOAPBOX each year. Two of these will be led by artists or writers, while the other two will be community-based creative projects. If you or your organisation are interested in developing artwork for the soapbox project, you will need to know the following guidelines and specifications.

If you have a creative project that you'd like to feature on the SOAPBOX billboards, please email

Current exhibition

The Art of Michael Kohl

Michael Kohl was a long-time participant at The Parkside Foundation, spreading joy wherever he went. He was a prolific artist whose imagination soared into the prehistoric era, via themes of Disneyland and cruise ships.

Michael's fascination with dinosaurs was an all-encompassing passion that drove his creativity and artistic endeavors. Across varied mediums, his particular brand of dinosaur (based on the Tyrannosaurus Rex) was explored and reinterpreted in bold expression, intricate detail, and lucid text.

Michael also participated in Creative Hobart's Signal Box and Ability to Create programs.

The Art of Michael Kohl

The Art of Michael Kohl

The Art of Michael Kohl

Previous SOAPBOX billboards

41 - Epoch: What do you hope to see in the future?

The Hobart community were invited to submit creative responses to this provocation on a postcard.

People drew, painted, sculpted, wrote, scribed and photographed their dreams and ideas onto their postcard and gave a brief explanation on the back. This project received over 220 submissions which will all be displayed in an exhibition at the Waterside Pavillion from 6 to 9 December 2023.

Complementing the inaugural Hobart Current: Epoch exhibition, the City of Hobart is hosting a program of diverse community activities, providing opportunities to discover and explore this year's theme of 'epoch'.




40 - Antarctica

Since 1984 the Australian Antarctic Program has taken artists and writers south to raise awareness, understanding and appreciation of Antarctica, the sub-Antarctic and Southern Ocean.

The Fellowship has hosted creatives including writers, visual artists, dancers, musicians and children's authors.

Artists are vital in weaving together the physical and emotional stories of the icy continent and the people who work there.




39 - The Future of Toys

As part of the Theatre Royal's 2023 Staycation school holiday program, artists Ben Paul, Caitlin Fargher, Sarah Hall and Selena de Carvalho led a two-day workshop in which young participants turned old plastic toys into new inventions.

This process explored the impact of waste on their lives, their communities, the environment and our future.

The Future of Toys

The Future of Toys

The Future of Toys

38 - A Call To Arms

A Call to Arms features stills from a new dance film created by film makers Tara and Pippa Samaya – The Samaya Wives - produced by DRILL Performance Company Inc. in collaboration with the Bob Brown Foundation.

Nine performers traversed the landscapes of takayna; from coastline, to button grass, to the deep ancient temperate rain forests. Through movement they explored the embodied effects of takayna’s landscapes and the resonating sensation of its contrasting strength and fragility.

A Call To Arms

A Call To Arms

A Call To Arms

37 - Writing Our Worlds

Writing Our Worlds is a collection of creative storytelling by young Tasmanians from multicultural backgrounds.

The pieces in this collection were produced in 2021 through a collaborative storytelling project run by the Migrant Resource Centre and Multicultural Youth Tasmania, working with the Story Island Project and Sisters Akousmatica.

The project nurtured the voices of over 100 young Tasmanians aged 10-25 from refugee and migrant backgrounds. Using poetry, creative writing, painting, collage and printing, they told stories of their worlds and their dreams for the future.

Writing Our Worlds

Billboard text

It took me a few months to accept my mother's hatred towards my teeth. And a few more months to book an appointment with the orthodontist. I remember my mother was so ecstatic that she insisted in joining me in my voyage to the clinic. In hindsight, I wish I resisted more.

I lost my mother that day, right at the clinic's doorstep. It was the day they struck the ex-president's house, which was 200 metres away from the clinic. It rained rocks that day. My mother got buried beneath the debris, and I couldn't let go of her arm out gasping for life. It took three men to pull me away, and three weeks for my father to flee me out of the country.

… today, in this foreign land, everyone smiled back at me. No one noticed the neediness of my teeth for braces. And I realised that it was never my smile that had put a grimace on people's faces. It was war. Famine. Discrimination. Poverty. And everything that encircled my people's life.

Extract from 'Odontophobia' by Khaled Damag, Age 22

Writing Our Worlds

Writing Our Worlds

Writing Our Worlds

36 - water[shed]

water[shed] is an exhibition conceived by OUTSIDE THE BOX / Earth Arts Rights and presented in collaboration with Bett Gallery to support the Restore Pedder campaign. water[shed] opens to everyone on Saturday 6 August and runs until 27 August.

The exhibition coincides with the 50-year anniversary of the loss of Lake Pedder beneath the rising waters of the Huon-Serpentine hydro-electric impoundment.

The loss of the Lake has been described as 'a loss of epic proportions… a global ecological tragedy'. Calls for its restoration have reverberated ever since.

50 national and international artists (one for each year since Lake Pedder was lost) accepted our invitation to make work that explores the notions of watershed, ecosystem restoration, re-wilding, loss, grief, hope, and of course to celebrate the original Lake Pedder.

The water[shed] artworks selected for the three SOAPBOX billboards are The Lake of Sadness by Joan Ross (rear wall of the State Library), Nature Speaks HK by Imants Tillers (Criterion Lane) and Kiss of Life by Pat Brassington (side of the Playhouse Theatre).





35 - Sharing a yarn between palawa writers

These SOAPBOX banners were designed for NAIDOC Week 2022. In each of the banners, palawa writers Luana Towney and Adam Thompson share a yarn about their work, their language and this year's theme for NAIDOC: GET UP! STAND UP! SHOW UP!

Follow this link for further links and more information about the project.

NAIDOC Week 2022

Sharing a yarn with palawa writers

Sharing a yarn with palawa writers

Sharing a yarn with palawa writers

34 - The Art We See

During its 27 year history, over 50 artworks and design pieces were acquired as winners of the City of Hobart Art Prize.

Exhibited now within City buildings, staff experience this art daily. Pieces might be jewelry, painting, sculpture, blown glass, ceramic, photography, objects made in wood, items of design.

The work selected for the three billboards in Mather's Place and Criterion Lane are a small selection of the art seen by City employees on a daily basis.

The Art We See

The Art We See

The Art We See

33 - Nematode Dreams

Nematode Dreams is a collaborative project developed by Selena de Carvalho, Caitlin Fargher and Julia Drouhin.

These billboards formed one part of a participatory art walk through the city digging into more-than-human-life worlds beyond the streets of nipaluna/Hobart.

This is a project supported by a Creative Hobart grant from the City of Hobart.

Nematode Dreams

Nematode Dreams

Nematode Dreams

32 - Offsite

To mark five years of presenting art projects in non-gallery spaces, CONSTANCE ARI commissioned new works by 17 artists and writers currently based in lutruwita/Tasmania for a publication titled offsite. Each of these artists had participated in one of CONSTANCES' offsite projects.

Offsite was supported by Arts Tasmania.

Offiste - Karin

Offsite - Eloise

Offsite - Chloe

31 - The Stare

We’ve always been taught not to stare; not to look at someone deeply because it might offend them. So we look away. But if we don't look, we can't see and if we can't see we can't know - so how can we understand? Second Echo Ensemble (SEE) are launching a series of portraits to create a place to see and be seen that dismantles ‘normal’ and empowers the SEE artists living with disability to reflect and share their lived experiences.

This project is part of a diverse program of community activities exploring the notion of ‘Liberty’ as a complement to the inaugural Hobart Current: Liberty exhibition, 2021.

The Stare

The Stare

The Stare

30 - Collins Street Studio

In the mid 1930s, artists Edith Holmes, Mildred Lovett, Florence Rodway, Dorothy Stonor, Ethel Nicholls and Violet Vimpany shared a studio at 76 Collins Street, Hobart. Most of these women had trained together at the Hobart Technical College under Lucien Dechaineaux. Their work was exhibited locally, nationally and internationally.

This story is part of an existing women's history walk entitled “In Her Stride”, with much of the material drawn from Lindy Scripps “Women’s Sites and Lives in Hobart: Historical Research” (March 2000).

Collins Street Studio

Collins Street Studio

Collins Street Studio

29 - I Am Somebody

I Am Somebody is a project by Helene Thomas and Andrew Wilson comprising recorded interviews and portraits of local people who have experienced housing stress or insecurity.

For more information and to listen to the recordings, visit the I Am Somebody project page.

I Am Somebody

I Am Somebody

I Am Somebody

28 - New Lines of Sight

New Lines of Sight has been commissioned to celebrate 30 years of student exchange of the Hobart – Yaizu Japan sister city relationship, now in its 42nd year. Artist Sara Wright, with interpretation by Yukiko Burns, facilitated young women from Yaizu and Mt Carmel College in a creative process, navigating bias and sharing cultural perspectives, seeing themselves and each other with new eyes. The result is a collective dreaming for the future: a global society of friendship, reciprocity and peace.

The shodo symbol by Yaizu student Mikoto Totsuka and Sarasa Ohtani translates to ‘with gratitude, our dreams become real’. The symbol has been cleverly re-imagined using the Japanese character for ‘dream’, drawn out of the word for ‘thank you’ or ‘gratitude.’

“A blue line of stars connect the faces of young women, eyes closed, connecting to self and spirit, feeling gratitude and allowing a collective dream of limitless possibility” – Sara Wright.

For more information on this project and the Yaizu Sister City relationship please visit our New Lines of Sight project page.

New Lines of Sight

27 - Meditations on muwinina

The new Soapbox billboards present an artwork from an ongoing creative and conceptual writing collaboration between trawlwoolway family members, Neika Lehman and Lauren Gower, with design by artist, Rosie Isaac

In meditations on muwinina, the artists have used the concept of ‘family’ as a starting point for conversations around family, memory, Country and the role of art to present writing about lutruwita|Tasmania.

Artist Neika Lehman writes: “We wanted to present Aboriginal conceptions of niplaluna|Hobart, addressing muwinina Country and all its relations (mountain, animals, plants) as the caregivers to our lives. We wanted to respond to the ongoing sovereignty of the land and its custodians, to create an old and new portrait of the land where contemporary nipaluna|Hobart is situated. We hope the Soapboxes can be a starting point for further conversations not only between locals, but also for tourists and other visitors coming through nipaluna|Hobart for the HOBIENNALE festival and other activities.”

The billboards were presented by un Projects and HOBIENNALE.

Meditations on muwinina

26 - A Shipwrecked Life

“Explorer, Revolutionist, Protector of Iceland, Humanist, Preacher, Author, Gambler, Dispenser of Medicine, Diplomatic Agent, Sailor, Captain, Saviour, Political Prisoner, Exile, Convict, Editor, Colonial Constable, Deluded Dipsomaniac.”

Caroline Amos retraces the colonial Tasmanian journeys of the flawed yet enigmatic Jorgen Jorgenson through a series of visual narratives.

To view more images of the exhibition please scroll through the flickr galleries of past exhibitions.

A Shipwrecked Life

A Shipwrecked Life

A Shipwrecked Life

25 - Hobartians Facing Homelessness - 50/50 Art Project

Hobartians Facing Homelessness – 50/50 is the community-focused art project which explores the issues around homelessness using art as a vehicle to connect diverse viewpoints and create collaboration with a result that can be shared, exhibited and foster discussion.

Home is not four walls. Home is a caring community.

Homelessness is a pressing issue for many Hobartians, with so many Tasmanians currently homeless.

Through an artistic collaboration between students and homeless people with lived experience, we are able to actively consider the issue and generate awareness and empathy.

K.Kelly – Hobartians Facing Homelessness

Hobartians Facing Homelessness - 50/50 Art Project

24 - Safe Haven

Safe Haven is a collaborative community-focused creative project that explores the intersection of place, belonging and queer identity in Tasmania by local artist, Dexter Rosengrave.

In 2018, Hobart-based artist Dexter Rosengrave visited the homes of three people from the LGBTIQ community to talk about their experience of being queer and why they call Tasmania home. A series of photographic artworks for Soapbox have been created in response to these interactions.

“The billboards use a combination of photography and quotes to articulate the reasons why members from an at-risk community choose to remain in regional areas rather than relocating to more populated cities,” the artist explained.

Safe Haven explores how queer community members define and experience home, from both within and beyond the walls of a house. The artist considers “older generations of queer Tasmanians and how the experience of making oneself invisible would have been necessary for survival during times when queerness was deemed an illness or illegal.”

Safe Haven

Image: Lea Guy | Artwork: Dexter Rosengrave


BASIC SPELL is an evolving creative project for radical thinking. It offers a residency program that invites response to a unique library. The library is the heart of this project – a collection of feminist literature inherited by JR Brennan from his mother Patricia after she died in 2011. The collection consists of feminist literature from a wide range of perspectives including anthropology, sociology and theology with a particular focus on the female body and language. In 2017 the collection was brought to Hobart and installed at 221 Liverpool Street. Basic Spell is curated by JR Brennan, Adam James and Willoh S.Weiland.


The BASIC SPELL | FEMINISM experiment will be a 100 year long residency program supporting one radical thinker per year to commune with the library and share their findings with the Hobart community in an event at 221 Liverpool Street.

“Who are your intellectual mothers?” is the question posed on the Soapbox on the side of the State Library. The quote comes from Marianne Mulvey, the first Basic Spell resident thinker, at the public presentation of her research and, in turn, comes from a question posed by author Maggie Nelson in her feminist autobiography The Argonauts.


22 - What wisdoms do they hold? What tales remain untold?

Through the sharing of stories, we celebrate the rich lives of elders in our communities. Across the generation divide, the experiences of older people can often be lost or overlooked. By gathering stories, having a yarn, forming a connection, knowledge is gained in the philosophies and wisdoms, challenges and insights of lived experience.

What wisdoms do they hold?

What tales remain untold?

Over many cups of tea, Matt Daniels Ned and Ned Daniels, a father and son team, have worked together in dialogue with elders in and around Hobart to produce these artworks.

The Mathers House Story project fosters understanding and respect by continuing these conversations with elders in our communities.

What wisdoms do they hold? What tales remain untold?

21 - The People's Library

The People's Library is a collaborative artwork that focuses on everyday acts of reading and writing. The project has published 113 original books from people across Tasmania. The People's Library continues this September offering events, readings, exhibitions and activities at Salamanca Arts Centre.

The People's Library is initiated by A Published Event and presented in partnership with Salamanca Arts Centre. The People's Library is supported by the Australia Council for The Arts, the Federal Government's arts funding and advisory body, the City of Hobart, and The Regional Arts Fund with generous support from the Allport Bequest.

The People's Library

Image: A Published Event

20 - Climate Conversations HobArt

Climate Conversations HobArt is part of the City of Hobart's review of its Climate Change Strategy. It was completed by artist Selena de Carvalho with Lansdowne Crescent Primary School students and other interested members of the public. Working in collaboration with Seed Consultants, the City recognised an opportunity to introduce an art component to the review process in order to capture and reflect the community's climate emotions and sensations. Two mandalas were drawn by students, with the creation process captured in a short film. A complimentary series of personal letters to our future climate or grandchildren were written as part of the City of Hobart Climate Forums.

To learn more, visit the Climate Conversations HobArt website

Learn more about the City's sustainable communities projects.

Climate Conversations HobArt

Image: Artwork by the students of Goulburn Street primary School in collaboration with artist Selena de Carvalho for the City of Hobart Climate Strategy Project.

19 - The Unmissables Project

The Unmissables Project, am initiate of the Missing Person's Advocacy Network, pairs artists with writers to work with these families, developing artworks for the walls of Australian cities that engage the community and reignite the search.

The Unmissables Project

Image: Missing - Nicola Sallese, Words - Belinda Smart, Art - Janine Wareham

18 - Painters and Poets

A collaboration between Bett Gallery and the Tasmanian Land Conservancy

During the spring and summer months of 2016 and 2017, eight poets and eight painters visited one of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy's east coast reserves – The Big Punchbowl. These billboards provide a taste of the work produced by the poet/painter pairs. Learn more about The Big Punchbowl and nature conservation at on the Tasmanian Land Conservancy's website.

Painters and Poets

17 - Together project

October – December 2017

“Together is when everybody in the world holds hands and tries to understand each other” – Jade 5.4 years

The Together Project represents ongoing research undertaken by a group of educators from the Tasmanian Research Network in collaboration with children 0-8 years of age in the Hobart area.

Across the three billboards, the children have thought about and embodied the concept of ‘Together’ in a variety of art forms such as clay, drawing, mandala making and photography. Their ideas are both beautiful and thought provoking. The Together Project presents a strong image of children as capable citizens having the ability to co-construct meaning with others and their environment. The billboards are allowing young children's thinking, creativity and theories visible in our city.

Together project

16 - Good Life Permaculture

July – September 2017

Good Life Permaculture in partnership with The City of Hobart held two free community workshops in June and July to teach people how to compost at home. Over 100 people from 86 households attended the workshops, with each household estimated to be composting around 35kgs of organic waste each month since the workshops. This is over 400kgs a year from each house that would have otherwise gone into landfill. The Billboards were created by a local artist, to educate the general public and placed around Mathers House to complement the workshops. These workshops have provided a large number of households with the ability to assist the City in working towards zero waste to landfill.

Good Life Permaculture

15 - Sisters – Yaizu Hobart

May – July 2017

These billboards celebrate the longstanding sister city relationship between Hobart and Yaizu, Japan. In the lead up to a 40-year celebration of this connection between the cities, a workshop was conducted between visiting Yaizu students and local students. The workshop, run by Chris Mister from the City's Youth Arts & Recreation Centre, encouraged students to share experiences of living in each of the cities and to use drawing to express the relationship between themselves and their cities.

Sisters - Yaizu Hobart

14 - '67 Bushfire stories

February 2016 – April 2017

This series of billboards commemorates the bushfires of Black Tuesday, on 7 February 1967. These fires burned 2640 square kilometres of land in Southern Tasmania within 5 hours, claiming 62 lives, injuring 900 people and leaving thousands homeless. Each billboard combines a dramatic images of the fires or the aftermath, with quotes reflecting individual experiences of the day.

'67 Bushfire stories

13 - PLATFORM Magazine

November 2016 – January 2017

The artists from this series of billboards all feature within PLATFORM Youth Culture Magazine.

PLATFORM Youth Culture Magazine is Tasmania's premier youth publication designed to share and explore the ways young people in our community thrive in an ever changing world. The entire magazine is written, designed, and photographed by young people for young people. For more information, visit the PLATFORM website.


12 - Alzheimer's Australia Tasmania

September – December 2016

Created as part of Alzheimer's Australia Tasmania's (AAT) Artist in Residence program, these billboards feature the works of 15 individual participants who experience early onset dementia. The original works evolved from a series of collages where participants formed abstract artworks.

The collage process allows for subtle aspects in the making process to be important design elements, for example the folds, tear marks and holes in the paper are evident in the final collages and workshop participants exploited these types of visual qualities in their works. Many of the original collages produced were around 10 cm x 15 cm, and were digitally enlarged to form the imagery for the billboard artworks.

Alzheimer's Australia Tasmania

11 - Her Majesty's Favourite Really Great Graphical Festival

June – August 2016

Her Majesty's Favourite Really Great Graphical Festival showcased some of Hobart's best artists with artist talks, performances, zine-launches and events that encouraged participants to try their hand at drawing and creating publications. The SOAPBOX billboards showcased the works of three local artists: Leonie Brialey, Tanya Walker and Alyssa Bermudez.

Her Majesty's Favourite Really Great Graphical Festival

10 - Make Your Mark: Respect

April – June 2016

MAKE YOUR MARK: RESPECT was a youth initiative of the Tasmanian Museum and Gallery (TMAG) in partnership with the City of Hobart.

Under the guidance of Chris Mister from the City of Hobart's Youth Arts & Recreation Centre and TMAG project lead artist Pip Stafford, six young artists developed a series of films exploring ideas around identity in the age of social media.

The artists created ‘profile pictures’ using redundant technology, which were then juxtaposed against images that represented who they really were. The footage was shot on super 8 film and was painstakingly hand-animated frame-by-frame using bobby pins and felt markers. The works displayed in this SOAPBOX project were created from individual frames taken from super 8 film.

Make Your Mark: Respect

9 - Hobart by Kudelka

February – April 2016

Award-winning Hobart cartoonist and animator Jon Kudelka's cartoons featured in this project, with three images from his book Hobart by Kudelka – a sketchy love-letter to Australia's southernmost capital with a series of watercolours from the heart.

Hobart by Kudelka

8 - Merry Consumerism and a Happy New Debt

November 2015 – February 2016

Merry Consumerism and a Happy New Debt is a project run in conjunction with our Public Art Program and the Youth Arts & Recreation Centre. Over the course of several months, six young artists developed work responding to how they felt about Christmas. They were encouraged to be honest about how they felt about the season and given the freedom to explore their own ideas.

The artists each had very different reactions and associations with the festive season. Some of the work was intensely personal, and others developed work that was more evocative of a feeling that exists around Christmas.

The young artists were: Yasmin Donelly, Mostafa Faraji, Nick Kirkham, Jess Materia-Rowland, Mahalia White-McColl, and Jacquelline Rix.

Merry Consumerism and a Happy New Debt

7 - Young Writers in the City

September – November 2015

Young Writers in the City, a Tasmanian Writers Centre initiative funded by the City of Hobart, featured seven young writers exploring a range of inner-city spaces (city studios) throughout July and August 2015:

  • Ben Armstrong – Elizabeth Street Mall
  • Michael Blake – The Hobart Aquatic Centre
  • Claire Jansen – Mathers House
  • Britta Jorgensen – Hobart Town Hall
  • Hannah Grey – Hadley's Orient Hotel
  • Hannah Warwarek – Hadley's Orient Hotel
  • Cassandra Wunsch – Elizabeth Street Mall

The young writers featured on the SOAPBOX billboards were Ben Armstrong, Michael Blake, Claire Jansen and Hannah Grey. Writer portraits were by Jack Robert-Tissot.

Young Writers in the City

6 - Hobart From A Bus

July – September 2015

Hobart From A Bus is a collection of photographs taken by Metro Tasmania bus drivers. The images were produced using a wide range of cameras, including phones, tablets, go-pro and other digital cameras. Hobart From A Bus provides a unique around-the-clock view of our beautiful city and surrounds from every angle through all seasons, from the world's greatest office. See Hobart from a different perspective.

Hobart From A Bus

5 - Read More Books

March – July 2015

Read More Books reflects a collaboration between the City of Hobart and Island Magazine. The billboards featured pearls of wisdom on the importance of reading from three of Tasmania's most prominent authors: Amanda Lohrey, Rohan Wilson and David Walsh.

Read More Books

4 - Elder/HOOD

October 2014 – March 2015

Installed for Seniors Week 2014, Elder/HOOD is an ongoing photographic essay by local artist Andrew Wilson which explores inter-generational wisdom and how it is shared, Elder/HOOD aims to bring together community members' tales of gaining wisdom through conversations with someone else – an aunty, neighbour, grandfather, child, your friendly barista, or even a stranger on a bus.


3 - Portraits of Invisible People

March – October 2014

Portraits of Invisible People, featured extracts from an acclaimed contemporary arts project produced by Kickstart Arts in partnership with Headway Rebuilding Lives. Kickstart artists worked with people with acquired brain injuries, their families and friends, to tell their stories in a mixed media visual art installation, which originally opened to record audiences at Salamanca Arts Centre.

Kickstart Arts' Portraits of Invisible People took its audience on a physical, emotional and intellectual journey through the personal stories of people whose lives had been changed forever due to a brain injury. The show asked its audience to consider the nature of fate, memory, grief, truth and relationship through extraordinary storytelling, metaphors of space, experience and time, video, stunning photography and sound.

Portraits of Invisible People

2 - In This Place

January 2013 – March 2014

Historic images from around Mathers Place.

In This Place

1 - What Do I Like About Living In Hobart?

December 2012 – January 2013

To coincide with the launch of the City of Hobart's first Inner City Action Plan (ICAP) Project at Mathers Place, the inaugural SOAPBOX billboards featured the words and artworks of children from Kindergarten and Year 3 in answer to the question 'What do I like about living in Hobart?'.

What Do I Like About Living In Hobart?