26 September 2023

Artists colour up Civic’s vacant spaces

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The former Elections ACT office has undergone a transformation following the launch of a new City Renewal Authority trial program to activate and repurpose vacant tenancies and buildings in the City Centre.

Opening the Second Space trial program, Minister for the Arts, Tara Cheyne said the partnership with the Australian National University’s (ANU) School of Art and Design, Craft ACT and the Cultural Facilities Corporation would breathe new life into what would otherwise be unused space.

Ms Cheyne said the program would also increase foot traffic and dwell time, generate safety after hours, dissuade anti-social behaviour and provide increased value to property owners.

“All of which will drive a ripple effect of more people in our City Centre and greater investment, leading to major social and economic benefits for the broader Canberra community,” Ms Cheyne said.

“Importantly, this program also supports our thriving arts and cultural sectors by pairing local creatives with unused spaces to transform.”

She said the trail at Civic Square would reinvigorate the former Elections ACT office as a studio space to host creative production and works of an international standard from the ANU School of Art and Design, along with art installations and workshops through the Design Canberra Festival.

“Bringing these exciting new tenants into the building mix will complement the existing cultural and creative residents to establish a hub that is visually appealing and accessible to the public,” the Minister said.

“Taking form as an innovative and decentralised studio model to support environmental and economic sustainability, works will focus on sharing world-class knowledge, cultural and creative development and production,” she said.

“The community will be able to experience the creative works unfolding in Civic Square.”

Ms Cheyne said the space would evolve to house workshops and activities as part of the Design Canberra Festival from 2-20 November.

She encouraged property owners to join the conversation to activate more spaces with Second Space set to expand across the City Centre.

Further information on Second Space can be accessed at this PS News link.

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