Originating in Sydney under the name of ArtPol in 1975, the festival was the brainchild of the Federation of Polish Women in Australia. PolArt festivals are held every three years in capital cities around Australia. They have been held in Sydney (1975, 1991, 2003), Adelaide (1981, 1994, 2009), Brisbane (1988, 2000), Melbourne (1984, 1997, 2015), Hobart (2006) and Perth (2012), with each festival growing larger and more popular than the previous.
While strongly rooted in Polish folkloric song and dance, the festivals have grown to include theatre, film, visual arts, music, and literature. Its popularity has even expanded with artists from New Zealand now also participating.
This truly remarkable community initiative unites Polish and Australian communities across Australia with first, second and now third generation Polish youth the main participants.
The festival has helped promote and contribute to the multicultural character of Australia.