Creative spaces project receives artist's backing

Wollongong artist Nina Kourea has backed a proposal which calls on business owners to allow artists to take up temporary residence in vacant shops in the city's CBD.

Wollongong City Council Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said Wollongong Creative Spaces would benefit business owners and artists alike.

Cr Bradbery pointed to similar projects in other regions in the state, such as Re-new Newcastle and Art in the Heart in Lismore.

Ms Kourea also felt the proposal could be great for Wollongong.

"I have seen great examples of this method in Newcastle and it had boosted their economy and tourism," she said.

"I just hope that this project is managed correctly and both artists and retailers are supported fairly.

"I know how difficult it is to run your own space and keep practising as an artist.

"I think the best thing about this project is keeping the artistic community alive and creating a city that is rich in culture."

But not all artists are on board, with previous participant Trina Collins dealing with many issues when she tried to create a community gallery under the scheme.

The Wollongong resident told the Advertiser she spent three months renovating a mould-infested store, only to be told the premises had been leased once she had finished, meaning she and other artists had to leave.

She was then given the opportunity to turn the neighbouring property, owned by the same landlord, into the gallery but the same thing happened.

"We think it was used for us to do up the space for them for free," Ms Collins said. "Once we'd done that we got the boot."

The council will liaise with owners and real estate agents to facilitate the temporary use of the spaces, and develop a register of potential locations.

Visit the council's website or phone 4227 7111 for more information on the scheme.

WOLLONGONG ADVERTISER

Nina Kourea believes the Wollongong Creative Spaces project could be a boon for the city if managed properly. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Nina Kourea believes the Wollongong Creative Spaces project could be a boon for the city if managed properly. Picture: ROBERT PEET

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