Bus Projects is an artist-run organisation dedicated to supporting the critical, conceptual and interdisciplinary practices of Australian artists. In addition to its core gallery-based program of exhibitions, events and residencies, Bus Projects collaborates with a range of artists and arts organisations to produce projects off-site and within the public realm.
After seventeen years of operation, Bus Projects is one of the longest running artist-run initiatives (ARIs) in Melbourne and has made a significant contribution to the vibrancy and diversity of the city’s arts culture.
Founded as Bus by Chris Johnson Tim O’Donoghue, Kade McDonald, David Sutton, John Karatzas, and Chris Johnson in 2001, it was originally located at 117 Little Lonsdale St. Bus began as a design collective whose members held a shared interest in art. The gallery had three exhibition spaces known as the Skinny Gallery, Main Gallery and the Sound Gallery. It also had a project space that hosted artist residencies and performances by such bands as My Disco, Fabulous Diamonds, True Radical Miracle, Snawklor, Pummel, Night Terrors, Stabs, Kes, Oren Ambachi, Anthony Pataras, Robin Fox, and Ben Frost.
In 2007, the artist, Claire Mooney replaced Tim O’Donoghue as the gallery director and in February 2008, Bus incorporated and became officially known as Bus Gallery Inc. In November 2008, the artist Tim Webster became the gallery director and in December 2008, Bus Gallery Inc. formally changed its name to Bus Projects in order to reflect the group’s focus on spatial arts practice. In 2009, a new exhibition space dedicated to video projections was opened in the renovated stairwell of the building. Throughout 2009, Bus Projects was also home to the Sunshine and Grease, operated by Patrick O’Brien.
In January 2010, Bus Projects was notified of the building owner’s intention to redevelop the site. In March 2010, Bus Projects moved out of the building at 117 Little Lonsdale Street. Throughout 2010, Bus Projects presented a series of off-site events, including The Sound Playground and Play With Your Food in conjunction with other arts groups until relocating to Donkey Wheel House in early 2011.
In 2013 the organisation relocated to new gallery premises in Collingwood. The new site, located on the ground floor of 25 – 31 Rokeby Street, Collingwood, is housed within a former paint factory that has been transformed and redesigned by John Wardle Architects.