Yarra Mayor, Cr Jackie Fristacky, this morning announced the new Room to Create Fund that will generate grants for creatives.
The Fund has kicked off with $200,000 from Council and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. But Mayor Fristacky, making the announcement at Richmond’s Bakehouse Studios, said that the long term success of the program will depend on private or corporate donations.
“Simply put, the more people donate, the more we’ll be able to help people create,” she said. “A high percentage of people who live in Yarra identify themselves as creative practitioners but it is getting harder and harder for those people to find affordable spaces locally.
“We know people like living here because they are part of an inclusive and creative community that embraces iconic live music venues, over 60 galleries and artist run spaces, dozens of formal and informal rehearsal spaces, peak arts organisations, radio stations, film productions houses, recording studios and more.”
Many of these companies and individuals established themselves in Yarra because it was cheap to do so. Now that it is no longer the case, Council felt an obligation to help, she said.
The Mayor pointed out, “By growing the fund through philanthropy, we can tap into a perpetual pool of money that will help pay for basic but essential things like studio fit-outs, rent, sound-proofing in music venues, technical production and upgrades.”
The first recipient is Schoolhouse Studios which gets $10,000 to help refit its new space in Collingwood.
Schoolhouse Studios is a not-for-profit arts organization set up tin 2010 by Alice Glenn and Elizabeth Barnett to provide affordable workspaces for emerging artists and creative businesses in the inner-city. It has grown from an initial 27 resident artist tenants to over 100 in 2012. Its new base at 81 Rupert St, Collingwood, is owned by developers The Molonglo Group, which subsidises the rent by nearly 50 per cent.
The Council already has a Room to Create Fund Advisory Committee to advice on how and where the money should be spent.