Art outlet for empty spaces
Cairns Regional Council and Meridien Marina are collaborating to create artistic opportunities out of empty space.
The partnership has launched its Beautiful Art Spaces Project at Marina Mirage, opening retail space to committed artists at minimal costs.
Meridien Marina operations manager Steve Burcher explained that a proposed waterfront redevelopment plan is in the works with no clear launch date.
This yet-to-be-announced construction means the marina is unable to offer leases to interested businesses, with the result quiet hallways and empty stores in prime retail space.
“Bottom line is we’ve got a bunch of dead shops we need to find a different way to fill,” Mr Burcher said. “So we’ve got to think outside the box.” After tossing up the idea of building a wall to block off an empty wing of the marina, talks with members of the Cairns Regional Council led Meridien to try a more creative option.
Meridien Mirage will open up about eight of its shops for artists to use as retail and studio space.
Cairns Regional Council has provided an application form on its website.
“We want a diverse range of artists and we want a commitment from these artists,” Mr Burcher said.
Port Douglas-based artist Che is one of the first to make the move into a studio space and will open an exhibition at the Marina in the coming weeks.
“It’s fabulous to be afforded quality space to present my work as an artist,” he said.
Mr Burcher said the commitment can be a number of days to stay open a week, nominal rent or percentage of turnover.
This commitment is in place not for Meridien to earn money from the project but to ensure that artists are using the space for more than storage, with their presence livening up a sleepy space and stimulating local businesses.
“This is being pioneered in other places,” Mr Burcher said.
“It’s hard to quantify the success but most agree it’s a substantial strategy making use of dead community space.
“But it also stimulates the economy in places that people don’t necessarily think art is linked.”
Artists interested in the Beautiful Art Spaces project at Marina Mirage should visit www.cairns.qld.gov.au and fill out an artist application form.
Beautiful spaces: artist Che is preparing for an exhibition in a disused retail space at Meridien Marina