The ground floor of the Morley Johnson building in Mitchell Street has stood empty for almost two years, but will soon be home to the city’s long-awaited Creative Industries Hub.
The Victorian government first announced the hub in April 2016 as part of the Creative State strategy, aimed at supporting the cultural and creative sector.
The government has now signed an initial three-year lease for the Morley’s site and appointed Bendigo-based company the CoCreate Group to operate the hub.
The hub is intended to be a co-working space for creative practitioners and businesses from across the region.
The government says it will offer a year-round program of collaboration and networking events aimed at bringing creatives together and opening up doors to new partnerships, collaborative ventures, investment and growth opportunities.
It is hoped the hub will foster better connections between creative domains, and boost the visibility of Bendigo’s creative industries.
CoCreate includes business mentor and coach Tim Ford; visual artist, writer and project manager Kir Larwill; visual artist, community development professional and publisher of digital arts magazine Trouble, Melissa Proposch; and Rhonda Chapman, a consultant in community and economic development and brokering partnerships.
“There are a lot of creative people out there who struggle with the business side of what they do, what they love doing,” Mr Ford said.
“The Hub, and everything that goes on in it and around it, will be a support and catalyst to build connections with other creative people, to develop and maximise opportunities.
“It will be about supporting people to make a sustainable living from what they do.”
The ground floor of the building was last occupied by Morley’s Emporium, a retail and hospitality enterprise that closed in October 2016 when Radius Disability Services entered voluntary administration, and before that Toyworld.
Planning to fit-out the space will now begin.
The hub will share the building with Kalianna School, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and Southern Phones.
The government says it engaged in a six to 12-month consultation period, before sourcing a suitable site and undertaking a tender process to find the right tenants to lead the hub.
For more information on the hub, contact CoCreate at firstname.lastname@example.org