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A secret world of art

10 Mar 2016

A secret world of art Image

By Ella Gibson

Southbank’s Boyd Community Hub contains a number of artists working and showcasing their work as part of the Creative Spaces and Artist Residencies programs.

Creative Spaces is part of the City of Melbourne and it aims to broker, develop, and manage spaces for the creative sector.

One of the ways in which they do this is through the Creative Spaces website, where people are able to list suitable spaces that are then made available to creators to rent for a certain amount of time.

From that concept, the Artist Residencies program began. The program itself is grant-based and applications are examined and chosen by a panel.

Creative Spaces program co-ordinator Laura Beilby stated that the idea behind it was to support arts and culture in Melbourne, and to diversify the use of the building.

“It’s quite a diverse mix of artists. We believe that if you put people of different disciplines in a building together you’ll get a certain amount of cross-pollination, which is something that happens naturally. We just set the right environment,” she said.

The Boyd school building now contains seven studios, contributing to more than 100 studios being used as part of the creative spaces program in the City of Melbourne.

“The important thing for us is that we are very opportunistic,” Ms Beilby said.

“We seek opportunities to intervene on the real estate market wherever we can, to make sure that our creative sector can still work within the City of Melbourne.”

The cost of real estate in the city means that many people are finding themselves pushed out.

“In many cases, artists don’t have a steady income or nine-to-five jobs, so it can be hard for them to go and seek out space. To keep Melbourne a livable city, it’s important to support artists, and this is one way in which we’re doing that,” Ms Beilby said.

“Melbourne is largely a creative place. It’s one of the reasons people like living here. But if we don’t have artists practicing within Melbourne then it’s going to die out.”

The program itself, rather than being project-based, is centered on giving artists space and opportunity in which to develop their work.

“It’s a space in which they can research and develop and explore all things related to their practice, and in exchange they commit to having one public outcome,” Ms Beilby said.

“We’re very conscious that the spaces we do develop are sustainable and long-term. We’re not doing things in a short-term way.”

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