After almost three years and $19.2 million, the renovations of heritage building, The Gunnery, in Woolloomooloo have been completed and Artspace can finally return to its home. The grand opening in mid-December will be celebrated with a two days of performances, music, exhibitions and an opportunity for the public to see the new state-of-the-art venue.
The wonderful new, custom-designed, multi-purpose gallery includes a larger ground floor exhibition area; ten artist studios which are available to NSW-based artists rent-free; an entire floor offering education, outreach, digital broadcast, performance, production and public program spaces.
With better accessibility and a new frontage on Forbes Street Plaza, Artspace will feel like a true community venue. Its location brings it into harmony with the nearby vibrant Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf and the Art Gallery of NSW — very inspirational surrounds for an artist.
Artspace began in 1983 when a collective of local artists decided they needed an independent, artist-run gallery that would showcase the works of new and emerging artists. It had a temporary space in Surry Hills until 1993 when it moved into the sandstone, heritage-listed, ex-naval building known as The Gunnery.
In 2020, then NSW Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin, approved a grant for a makeover of the building that would affirm its status as an arts and culture hub.
The opening celebrations will include a preview of the inaugural exhibition by Wiradyuri and Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones: Jonathan Jones: untitled (transcriptions of country). Jones will also feature in panel and interview styled talks and the launch of his exhibition-based book.
Debra Philips and Dennis Golding are other artists who will exhibit; spoken-word poet, Jazz Money and singer-songwriter, Akala Newman will perform, and DJ Rosano Martinez will break-down the evening to a relaxed chill.