The High St Northcote arts precinct has changed significantly in the last few years. Galleries have re-located (Kick Gallery to Collingwood, Synergy to CERES) , closed ( At Large, Disco Beans), or positioned themselves as studio/desk rental + exhibition space (Liberte Arts – Lost Gallery), or retail art supplies + exhibition space (NiceCat). Challenging times, certainly, but what else? An opportunity to re-think creative venues. Where they are, what they do, and how to engage the general public. To quote Darebin Councillor Trent McCarthy
“I actually believe we should be having art opportunities in every street in Darebin, and our High Street corridor is ideal for mini-galleries in shopfronts, nooks, and crannies. I’d encourage more traders and shop owners to make space available where they can. It adds to the colour and light of the city, and connects them to people interested in art…”
The Smallest Gallery in High Street (a doorway at Healthpoint Clinic) and Active Spaces in Darebin use non-traditional locations to display, perform and promote art. Peter Fraser’s Lizard : A Box of Gaps is a stunning example of this. Take a look at the work in progress album, courtesy of Active Spaces in Darebin. Performed in March 2013, this Bodyweather-informed, Theatre Arts piece is inspired by pet store reptiles. Where better to stage it than a shop window?
Tom Matthiesson’s set construction is so evocative within this retail space, adding extra resonance to the movements within. Peter Fraser has successfully connected with his subject , urban space, and audience in a fresh and thought-provoking manner. Site-specific, vibrant art is alive and well in Darebin, albeit in places you may not expect…
Thanks to Mark Holsworth for the opportunity to guest post. Always a pleasure to write about the arts – especially in my favourite neighbourhood.
Vetti : Live in Northcote