Kingston Arts Precinct Strategy

The Kingston Arts Precinct Strategy Final Report

The final report by Susan Conroy in association with Susan Davis, Sue Kyte, Eric Martin, David Moyle and Claire Middleton is available here:

Executive Summary

A vibrant Kingston Arts Precinct has been envisaged since the first consultations on Kingston Foreshore‘s redevelopment.

In the ACT Government‘s Arts Facilities Strategy (2003) Kingston Foreshore is identified as a major arts precinct for visual arts production. It was to take advantage of what were described in that strategy as unique opportunities, including iconic heritage buildings connected to Canberra‘s early development as a city and the National Capital. Canberra Glassworks (in the former Power House), officially opened in May 2007, was the first component of the arts precinct to be delivered by the ACT Government.

The Government is now seeking a Kingston Arts Precinct Strategy to inform future development. While the precinct remains focused on visual arts, some key additional direction has underpinned the development of the Kingston Arts Precinct strategy. It includes looking at opportunities for complementary arts and cultural activities within the precinct. It required looking at a mix of tenants and uses necessary to help provide for the long-term financial viability of the arts precinct (it is recognised that arts and cultural precincts are notoriously difficult to make a go of financially).

The Glassworks, the Old Bus Depot Markets (held in the Former Transport Depot) and the planned relocation of Megalo Print Studio and Gallery to the precinct are seen to provide a heart for the Kingston Arts Precinct. But on their own they are insufficient to keep the heart beating. This requires abundant extra energy and activity in the precinct to help ensure longevity – to fire up artists and other creative people, and to make it a place that the rest of the community just must visit, and often.

During consultations it was clear that there is a high level of interest in the Kingston Arts Precinct by a range of visual arts disciplines (in addition to those identified by artsACT in its brief for the work), including for a fashion incubator, for screen-based arts, arts advocacy organisations and an Aboriginal Arts Centre. Proposed is the relocation of a number of key arts and cultural organisations to the precinct.

In order to accommodate the identified demand, and to help develop a critical mass of creative activity, proposed here is the adaptive re-use of heritage-listed buildings and spaces, with some new facilities, to provide an integrated, active precinct for visual arts, contemporary arts and other cultural activity. As already announced by the Chief Minister, it is intended that Megalo will relocate to the Fitters‘ Workshop. In addition, it is proposed that there be a new purpose-built building. This is essential for providing the space necessary to create a vibrant, active arts and cultural precinct with this facility having the potential to be a unique, landmark venue for the visual and performing arts, potentially for a curatorial program.

The ultimate goal of the strategy is for a vibrant, high quality, diverse cutting-edge artisan and production precinct that is active seven days and evenings a week, which not only celebrates and respects the site‘s Aboriginal, early settlement and industrial history but also is:

  • Well-connected to its immediate communities and the broader Canberra community
  • Adaptable, flexible, accessible and sustainably developed
  • Underpinned by the infrastructure and resources necessary to give it long-term viability as a place for local and visiting artists, designers, makers and creative businesses, and
  • For the wider community is an inspirational place to visit and experience because it is known as a place where artists, cultural organisations and creative businesses make, teach, exhibit, perform and sell their work.

If you would like a hard copy of the Strategy, please contact artsACT on 02 6207 2384.