DEMAND for a space to support local artists led Pat Thwaites to developing The Avenue Studios.
Located at 26-28 St Andrews Avenue, the space provides a studio setting for six local artists and also hopes to provides support, workshops and exhibition opportunities for others.
“We set up here to fill a need. We are aiming to do as much as we can for local artists and, if we're successful, aim to grow,” Mr Thwaites said.
“Hopefully we can generate enough income to help support artists even further. It's about testing the waters at the moment.”
Mr Thwaites said the idea of an artists hub had been simmering away for years.
“I tried to get Fortuna Villa set up to be an arts, culture and heritage centre while John Brumby was premier,” he said.
“We were almost successful. John Brumby announced if he was re-elected he would purchase Fortuna and use it for what was close to what we were aiming for. That was six years ago now.”
Mr Thwaites said The Avenue Studios does not have exhibition space, so the group is searching for temporary places to showcase its work.
“Usually you would have exhibition space but we can provide studios, common equipment (for everyone) and things other than exhibitions,” he said.
“For exhibitions, we are hoping to utilise pop-up space. We just finished one that featured 31 artists.
“The aim wasn't to make money but it was nice to sell some paintings. We mainly wanted to show where the artists were at in their career.”
The Avenue Studios will also help artists with presenting their work and also provide workshops to develop their skills.
“Costs can kill artists. Once they do lovely work, they find out it is expensive to put it in a presentable form. We want to help them make a living,” Mr Thwaites said.
“The workshop programs for artists will include a foundations program to teach skills that aren't taught in education anymore and artist-led workshops.
“We will also have technical workshops where we hope to utilise the services and collaborate with businesses around town.”
The Avenue Studios has already proven popular with artists, with Mr Thwaites compiling a shortlist of people who are eager to find studio space.
“At the moment we are full in terms of studio artists. But we do have a list of people interested in space,” he said.
“So l am keeping an eye out for potential spaces around town with a view to getting a second location.”
For more information on The Avenue Studios email firstname.lastname@example.org.