A proposal to have an Arts and Artisans' Centre to be built on 10 acres of land adjacent to the Sport Ground was lodged with the Scenic Rim Council this week.
The land is currently zoned as a cemetery and a green waste dump. This was part of a planning proposal made by senior Council Officers to deal with perceived limitations of the current cemetery and green waste facility.
An artisans’ centre is a communal arts space where working artists can establish low cost studios in a facility established and co-funded by council, State Government or private foundations.
Between 60-70% of all working artists in the Scenic Rim are living and working on Tamborine Mountain. There are no public spaces designed for them to be able to work together in a creative environment.
Halliburton Highland Arts Council
Halliburton is a small village in Ontario Canada which is very similar to Tamborine Mountain in size and feel.
Halliburton is half way between Montreal and Toronto and is a popular tourist desitnation and weekend resort town with an arts oriented community. Halliburton is often seen as a refuge for artists escaping the bigger commercial centres to a place more tolerant of creative freedom.
The Halliburton Arts Community has worked closely with local officials to establish working artisans centres, galleries and a School of Art which could well be the model for a similar facility here on Tamborine Mountain.
See the Halliburton Arts website.
Boonah and Beaudesert each have both artisans’ centres and art galleries. These facilities cost the ratepayers some $500,000 per year.
Latest figures from Council suggest that these facilities have around 35,000 visitors per year. Tamborine Mountain has around 1.3 million tourists per year.
A meeting was held in the Creative Arts Centre in Eagle Heights to discuss the possibilities of establishing the arts and artisans' centre on Tamborine Mountain. It was attended by 30 people and it unanimously voted to explore the issue further.
The meeting was addressed by Cr Derek Swanborough and by the Scenic Rim Regional Council's Arts and Cultural Coordinator, Bronwyn Davies.
Convener of the meeting Lorraine Brown said that the Open Studio initiative was successful but that many visitors found that driving to many artists’ private homes and studios was difficult and inconvenient.
“There is a pressing need for a one stop shop for fine and decorative arts on Tamborine Mountain,” said Lorrain Brown.
Cr Swanborough said that he had overseen the purchase of the 50 acres of land on the corner of Long and Hartley Roads. Forty acres have been developed for the Sports Ground but that 10 acres remained on the Hartley Road side of the block.
The community had expressed a wish that this land be assigned to creative arts purposes, but that Council officials had designated it as a cemetery and a green waste site.
When contacted for confirmation of this, Council CEO Craig Barke responded by saying:
"The master-plan for the sports ground, which is a public document, was completed several years ago. Council is not currently reviewing the master-plan for this site."
A follow up question to the Deputy Mayor who is Chairman of the Scenic Rim Council's Planning and Development Committee was slightly more encouraging:
"The current planning scheme allows a number of uses to be applied for under the Sustainable Planning Act on that block. I am not aware of any development applications lodged for this unused block you refer to."
Council Arts Coordinator Bronwyn Davies outlined the various funding sources available from council, State and Federal government. She was encouraging in her address but did emphasise that putting together a successful proposal and getting it actioned was not a short-term or easy thing to do. It would take persistence and consistent effort to identify the funding sources and deliver them.
Ms Davies encouraged the group to take the proposal in several stages, establishing community support on key performance indicators that would trigger further funding and investment by the various arts bodies.
There was significant discussion about how other artisans’ centres had been established in nearby communities. Frequently it was a matter of finding a disused facility and getting a working committee together to secure a lease and finding small amounts of funding for conversion works.
It is also important to establish a local committee which drives the project forward. This is often funded by the local community and businesses. They can contributing straight donations or in the form of subscription to secure life memberships. The money raised is used to provide the seed funding for further grant applications or to fund day to day operations in the initial centre.
Cr Swanborough told the meeting that the initial step was to encourage the Council to set aside the land for the purpose. There are currently alternative proposals being prepared for the site and these need to looked at to see if the arts and artisans' centre can be a part of them.
There is a creek that flows through the 10 acres of land under discussion. It is one of the main feeds for the main water table on Tamborine Mountain. The local Landcare group has a proposal for one acre of land to actively maintain that part of the site.