The Shellharbour City Arts Society is one step closer to realising their dream of an arts hub in the southern suburbs, after winning $20,000 in seed funding from the IMB Community Foundation.
The arts society hopes to convert the disused Albion Park Rail dairy co-op into a thriving artists collective, with space for workshops, exhibitions and classes.
Society president Jeanette Riley said it may take up to $150,000 to renovate the space, but the IMB grant had put them on the way to completing stage one of the co-op's revamp.
"Now we will get plans drawn up and meet the building code requirements, and start working on a development application," Ms Riley said.
"The IMB has seen the project's potential, now hopefully others will get on board too."
Russell Fredericks, manager of the IMB Community Foundation, said the hub would be a welcome addition to the southern Illawarra arts community.
"Our funding is seed funding to get projects off the ground and on the way, and this is a great building that could be put to good use," Mr Fredericks said.
"The area needs a hub like this. We saw this as providing a hub for a range of arts, and we liked that it was quite a broad spread that a number of groups would be interested in using."
The IMB Community Foundation provides up to $500,000 each year to local projects, having funded more than 450 ventures since its inception 15 years ago.
More than 260 funding submissions were received in 2014, of which 49 were successful.
"We look for things that will build community assets, and add value to the area," Mr Fredericks said.
Ms Riley hoped the hub would be operating within 18 months. The Shellharbour City Art Society is now looking for further funding to help secure and restore the site.