In terms of the Kingston Arts Precinct, what is most important is that all those committed to the arts and cultural life of our region – especially the ACT Government – have a grand vision, a strategic overview, a long-term plan for what’s needed to develop this area as a lively precinct for arts activity and cultural events. It is a rare opportunity for the ACT to work with the various development authorities and stakeholders to establish an exciting set of cultural facilities and creative spaces in the vicinity of the iconic Kingston Powerhouse, now the home of the Canberra Glassworks, which is already a major national attraction.
The Childers Group’s vision is a vibrant and accessible arts precinct for the visual arts in all its diversity, including film, new media and creative industries such as architecture, graphic design and digital technologies. In the Childers Group vision, Kingston is a place for live performance to happen but music would not be the focus.
Possibilities include best-practice adaptive reuse of heritage places for appropriate arts activities, together with high-quality purpose-built venues for use by a range of professional and community groups, for example as exhibition spaces and all kinds of events and performance. All the key visual arts organisations – Megalo Print Studio, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, PhotoAccess, Craft ACT: Canberra Craft and Design Centre – should be assisted to relocate to Kingston. Other organisations, such as those relating to film, as well as creative-industry businesses, would also co-locate in the precinct. Artist studios and artist-in-residency facilities should be a key feature of the developments. The arts component should be enhanced with appropriate commercial infrastructure, such as cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Maximising public access to arts activity should be a core driving principle at the Kingston Arts Precinct. All those in the community should have the opportunity to see art being made, and make art themselves.