Kiama Arts Precinct

The vision for the Kiama Arts Precinct is to:

Merge world-class urban design with historic preservation and environmental sustainability in the heart of Kiama’s central business district.

Creating an iconic public building that celebrates Kiama’s creative heart, culture and environment.

Providing a multi-discipline arts centre that will generate income revenues that will strengthen the local economy.

With landmark architecture, exhibition and performance space and adaptive reuse of public space to activate the pedestrian driven character of Kiama’s main street, linking downtown activity to the new Kiama East Precinct.

This will be an inclusive artist driven environment, challenging participants through artistic expression and social commentary. Engaging audiences across all abilities, backgrounds and life circumstances.

The Plan

Council is currently working towards the development of an Arts Precinct utilising new and existing infrastructure within Hindmarsh Park, Kiama.

The Park already boasts the well utilised outdoor Orry Kelly stage and the SENTRAL Youth Centre with its recording and rehearsal room and smaller outdoor stage. The Joyce Wheatley Community Centre is planned to be re-purposed as a working artist space with studio, artist in residence and workshop spaces available.

The Old Fire Station will continue to operate as it currently does, however a new Art Centre is being planned for development on the site surrounding the Old Fire Station, including utilising the old Ambulance Station site.

Concept plans and artist impression can be found here.

Where are we up to?

  • BHI Architects are working with Council to finalise designs for the new Arts Precinct ready for submitting for development approval.
  • a $12M funding application is now sitting with the NSW State Government under its Regional Cultural Fund awaiting a decision for funding.
  • the Joyce Wheatley Community Centre is currently used by Blue Haven for the delivery of a range of programs. Once Blue Haven move to the new Bluehaven Bonaira site in late 2019, the repurposing of this building should begin.

The History

The need for a multifunction art space in the Kiama local government area has been identified through twelve (12) planning and consultation documents, spanning twenty (20) years of community engagement and consultation.

These documents have identified Hindmarsh Park and the Old Fire Station as the most appropriate placement for an arts precinct and have listed the following as primary functions:

  • Multifunction indoor theatre/performance place
  • Cinema
  • Spaces for workshops and classes
  • Additional gallery space
  • Connection with the park for outdoor performances

The broader community commitment for a cultural arts space was most evident in the 2002 Kiama Strategic Futures Survey, by IRIS Research with nearly 60% of respondents saying arts and cultural facilities were important. An arts facility has also been a reoccurring strategy within Kiama Council’s Cultural Planning documents since 2007.

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