3 December 2021

Art and community centre to give creative minds in Narooma the facilities they deserve

| Tom McGann
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Narooma School of Arts Members signing the Funding deed

Narooma School of Arts members signing the funding deed. Photo: Supplied.

After more than 10 years of discussion and planning, artistic and creative minds in Narooma will soon have a facility they can call home with the creation of the new arts and community centre.

Being a hub for creative arts, adult education and various events, the facility is something the town has been missing for too long.

The discussion first began in 2007 with artists in the Narooma community disheartened by the lack of facilities.

It wasn’t until the Narooma School of Arts started talking to the lively arts community that this started to change.

Secretary for Narooma School of Arts, Laurelle Pacey says the idea came from a lack of places for artists in Narooma to express their creative minds.

“They (Narooma artists) thought we needed more space for their artistic pursuits,” Mrs Pacey said.

“We needed more purpose-built spaces for them, so we came together with the artists to work out what we needed and how we could do it.”

It was at this point the ball started rolling and it hasn’t stopped since.

READ MORE Updated plans for Narooma Arts and Community Centre on display now

Working with the artistic and broader community in Narooma, the town came up with different designs which were then sent to seven architect firms.

“Everyone who had something to do with art or was interested in art wanted to get involved with the planning,” Mrs Pacey said.

“There has been over 100 people involved during the planning phase through different committees and groups within the community.”

Eventually, CK Architecture were given the job to design the facility and are now working with a team of structural and civil, electrical, mechanical and fire engineers on the detailed design work for the project, which will take several months.

An Artists impression of what the Narooma Arts and Community Centre will look like

An artist’s impression of what the Narooma Arts and Community Centre will look like. Image: Narooma School of Arts.

Now, the funding deed has been signed and the Narooma Arts and Community Centre is going to be a reality.

Mrs Pacey strongly believes the community art centre will make a huge difference to the town, not only because it will give the artists a space to express their work, but the site upon which it will be built belongs 100 per cent to the Narooma community.

“It doesn’t belong to the local council or the state government, or even the federal government,” she said. “It belongs to us.”

As for the actual facility, it will be a hub for creative pursuits including three practical and adaptable studios, workshops and meeting rooms, a large gallery with highway frontage, a catering-level kitchen to service openings and car parking which will hold enough spaces for big events.

READ ALSO ‘Pragmatic Idealists’ presents professional development for artists in southeast NSW

The estimated cost for the endeavour is $7.28 million, which has been funded through grants from the NSW and Federal Governments as part of the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund.

While the cost is high, Mrs Pacey says the facility is priceless and what it will give the community far outweighs the cost.

“We’re not building this place so it can sit there for 20 or 40 years before being sold,” she said. “We are building it to last forever.

“It won’t only be there to develop the creative talent of the community, but to have a gathering place for people to share their creative minds.”

The facility will also hold masterclasses, which the Narooma School of Arts believes will attract tourists from the ACT to Sydney and other parts of regional NSW.

While Narooma artists can look forward to this new space, it will also welcome members from Tuross to Cobargo.

“This hub will be a destination in itself,” Mrs Pacey said. “People are going to travel far to see this.”

After fighting for more than 10 years to make the facility a reality, Mrs Pacey is excited for artists to finally have a space in Narooma to express their artistic pursuits.

Work is scheduled to start on site in May 2022 with the facility due to open its doors in the second half of 2023.

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