As rents rise in the inner north the Yarra community is continuously changing.
According to Marcus Westbury, Contemporary Arts Precinct (CAP) CEO, Collingwood was once a thriving and unique space for individual creatives who are increasingly being priced out of the area.
Which is why Westbury is thrilled at the State Government allocating a further $3 million into the Collingwood Arts precinct; the future creative hub in the heart of the Yarra.
“A lot of the creative community are being displaced, and [the precinct] will secure the creative diversity of the community,” says Westbury.
The new space will be located at the former Collingwood Technical School on Johnston Street in a bid to keep our most inspired artists around for the long haul.
“[The project] has been a while coming,” says Westbury. “Everything could happen quicker… but I think things are progressing really well.”
The Collingwood Arts Precinct is set to open in 2018. While CAP is still in the process of handpicking Yarra’s best artists for the prized location, no tenants have been finalised for residencies as yet.
The site will be completely revamped; the three long-standing, near-derelict buildings are to be revived, including a bright, leafy courtyard for those whose inspiration comes from the outdoors.
“The courtyard will be a new public open space [as] Collingwood doesn’t really have many parks.” Westbury says.
In a statement to Creative Victoria Westbury describes the potential of the project to “embrace the life cycle of creativity, so not just a place for established organisations, but a place where people can start things, come together on short term projects or long term projects, providing flexibility for creative projects that don’t even know what they are yet.”
A photo posted by Marcus Westbury (@unsungsongs) on
With recent cuts to the arts sector, the creative hub is a welcome initiative. Along with Creative Victoria, several Yarra institutions strongly supported the project, including Gertrude Contemporary gallery, the Centre for Contemporary Photography and Lucy Guerin Inc.
Last week Creative Victoria announced a further $3 million investment in the project after an initial injection of $4 million. With the additional $4 million raised in donations, a total of $11 million has so far been committed to the precinct.
True to form, The City of Yarra has enthusiastically backed the project, working with CAP to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
“Our creative industries and artistic communities are integral to our city’s identity, not just in Yarra but across greater Melbourne,” says Yarra City Council Mayor, Cr Robert Colanzi. “We are delighted that our local arts scene is being recognized and supported by the Government in this way.”
Far from being artistically barren, Collingwood is still abundant in its creative arts culture.
For those looking for inspiration, galleries such as the The Collingwood Art Gallery and Lindberg galleries are both worth a visit with new exhibitions starting early August. In addition the James Makin Gallery on Cambridge street, which showcases contemporary pieces by up-an-coming artists and well-known artists alike, are this year celebrating their 10-year anniversary with an exhibition opening on the 18th of August that is sure to impress.
Feature image courtesy of Marcus Westbury.
By Kathryn Lewis