The City's commitment to increase the availability of affordable creative spaces continues with the launch of our first Oxford Street spaces on Monday. Council has also endorsed plans to develop additional creative spaces in City owned properties in William Street.
Over the past two months, 16 new cultural and creative tenants have moved into office spaces, studios and shopfronts at 58-72 Oxford Street. The tenants are temporarily renting the spaces at a reduced rate, giving these previously empty areas a new lease on life as part of the City's Lower Oxford Street Activation Project.
(Photo: visiting Samantha Mitchell-Fin and Juliette Rosser at the Platform 72 Gallery with unique artwork by Freya Jobbins)
New tenants include small enterprises working in textile and graphic design, digital technologies, architecture and public space, ceramics and jewellery. They are joined by cultural organisations such as Queer Screen, which promotes GLBT film and filmmaking, Music NSW, a non-profit industry association representing the contemporary music industry and Sydney Guild which will curate and create exhibitions, publications and lecture series.
On Monday night Council unanimously agreed to undertake undertakes further investigation and compliance work to establish 14 combined live/work artists' spaces in the upper floors of the City's properties at 118-122 Oxford Street and additional artists' work and 'creative incubator' spaces in upper levels of 110 and 112-116 Oxford Street.
Council also unanimously approved approve using City owned properties at 101-111 and 113-115 William Street to establish a creative hub. The City will seek a mix of commercial and creative tenants including showrooms, galleries, restaurants and bars, office space or artist studios. Rents for each space will be commensurate with their condition and intended use.
These moves will help address the challenges which artists face in finding affordable spaces where they can work and live. Similar projects elsewhere in Australia and overseas have had considerable success in expanding spaces for creative activities and revitalising retail strips and village centres.