26 June 2023

Renovations give this Eurobodalla arts centre a new lease on life

| Claire Sams
Join the conversation
Member for Bega Doctor Michael Holland, Ms O'Neil and Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips during a May 2023 visit. Photo: Fiona Phillips MP/Facebook

Member for Bega Doctor Michael Holland, Bernie O’Neil and Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips during a May 2023 visit to Art Central. Photo: Fiona Phillips MP/Facebook.

A Eurobodalla arts centre has had a facelift as it continues to mount its post-COVID comeback.

Committee member, and a public officer of the Arts Council of Eurobodalla, Bernie O’Neil had simple words to describe the recently finished renovations.

“This is a relaunch of Art Central as an active arts centre again.

“The renovation we’ve undertaken has really refreshed the centre,” she said.

Art Central is located on Church Street and serves as the headquarters of the Art Council, a community-based organisation that promotes access to art in the Eurobodalla Shire.

Just as many social and cultural events were disrupted over the past few years, Ms O’Neil said Art Central had been affected as well.

“We were dramatically impacted by first, the bushfires, but then particularly by COVID,” she said.

“Then, we weren’t able to offer classes through most of the COVID period because of the need for social distancing – and it looked like we were closed.

“We had a few activities happening, but the centre went from being a vibrant centre to being very quiet.”

READ ALSO Riveting regional cinema showcased in Far South Film Festival’s finalists for 2023

The recent renovations have included the installation of a new kitchen and updated fittings in the main art room.

“The volunteers have painted it, we have beautiful art hanging by our committee members, tutors and some of our students,” Ms O’Neill said.

Art Central opened in 2004, and has been the site of classes from volunteer tutors, exhibitions, festivals and other events.

“We have a fantastic position overlooking the river with a beautiful, large verandah,” she said.

“It was originally the mill manager’s office, and a family lived there, when there were timber mills in Moruya.

“It had a history in the township even before it came to the Arts Council in the early 2000s.”

Art Central had long been the site of art classes, with Ms O’Neil saying that this is set to continue.

“At the moment we’re running drawing and painting classes, but we have or can run classes in music, felting, drawing, weaving, graphic design, bookmaking, printmaking and more.

“We have an incredibly wide range of subject areas that our volunteer tutors and artists are able to teach in.

“We have a pottery room that we’re planning to run classes through, later this year,” she said.

While previous classes were run over multiple weeks, Ms O’Neil said the Arts Council was planning for short courses to be run on weekends.

READ ALSO WATCH: Meet the real ‘old McDonald’, Australia’s first ICE-powered tractor

Even though the works are not finished, Ms O’Neil said the community response had been strong.

“We’re partway through the renovations we would like to do.

“We’re certainly looking for support to do further renovation work – we’ve done our main art room, but we have a pottery room that needs work and we need some storage facilities developed for our substantial art supplies.

“With the renovations, we just want to be back operating as a community arts centre because that’s where our hearts are.”

Ms O’Neil said the goal was to provide accessible access to art, including art classes, to the community.

“The ethos behind the Arts Council, and particularly behind Art Central is to provide an open arts facility for all members of the community.

“We recognise art as a healing force; we really strongly believe that people engaging in creative activities together provides a great healing force for people who are having difficulties in their life.”

Art Central is located at 24 Church Street in Moruya.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Great to see our wonderful State And Federal Members showing their interest in community organisations.
So different to Ms Sudmalis and Mr Constance who were only sighted around Election time, if at all, in the case of Ms Sudmalis.

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.