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Our Arts Precinct grows!

09 Mar 2017

Our Arts Precinct grows! Image

Just when you thought our vibrant Arts Precinct couldn’t get any bigger, the highly anticipated launch of Creative Spaces at The Guild last month saw even more creative institutions officially move into Southbank.

Over 200 people helped celebrate the unveiling of the transformed spaces on February 23, which the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) and Melbourne Fringe now call home.

The development, which has transformed over 1000 sqm of previously vacant retail space into a collection of arts spaces, was carried out through the City of Melbourne’s Creative Spaces program in partnership with Creative Victoria.

Despite having always been earmarked for creative uses, the ground floor spaces have remained vacant since The Guild’s completion in 2012 and many residents had doubted that the vision would ever be realised.

Speaking to guests at the launch, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle commended the hard work of those involved in the project for turning vision into “a wonderful reality”.    

“To be honest, although it is a remarkable building and although the people here bought into this building with the expectation that this would be an arts hub, I thought it was probably a bridge too far,” he said.

“Thank you to all who’ve been such an integral part of making what I was a little skeptical about into a wonderful reality. It will change the nature of this street and I think that is a wonderful thing.”

Along with its two new tenants, The Guild is now also home to a new co-working space for theatre producers and creatives, a rehearsal space for hire, a curated public gallery, offices, a boardroom and the new cafe Godot.

Award-wining architecture practice Archier, is the project architect responsible for the design and fit out of the co-working studio and Melbourne Fringe office, while the new cafe Godot has been designed by Aktis.

The project has responded to community and creative sector demand by providing access to affordable arts space and ensuring more artists continue to create and work in the city.

Creative Victoria Deputy Secretary Andrew Abbott described the new space as a “gem” that would provide major benefits to local residents and Southbank’s thriving Arts Precinct.

“It’s hard to imagine Southbank now home to a thriving creative and residential community was once Melbourne’s backdoor. It was a place you may have parked your car on the way to the city,” he said.

“You may have even purchased a used car here and today this area has one of the highest concentrations of arts and cultural organisations in the world and now thanks to the Guild, that number will grow even more.”

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