Kings Cross Festival Launch 2014

(7pm, Wednesday 8 October 2014, Gallery Mercure)

Thank you, Tim [Petersen], and hello, everyone. It's great to be here for the exhibition and the festival launch.

And of course I acknowledge Tim Denoodle, creator of this exhibition, and James Dorahym, who is curator of the art program for the 2014 Kings Cross Festival which we are launching tonight.

Since 2002, the Potts Point Partnership has worked to support local businesses and in its turn, it has been supported with grants under our Village Business Partnership Program.

Last year, the City provided a separate cash sponsorship of $50,000 for the Kings Cross Festival, which we last week increased by $10,000 to cover a looming funding shortfall—caused by lower than expected sponsorship and necessary expenses, such as cleansing.

I strongly supported the Partnership's request for special support so that the Festival could proceed with its exciting range of events, and to promote this area's renewal following negative media and other challenges over past year.

This Festival is helping redefine public perceptions of this area, focussing on changing to a destination for fine dining, great cafes, and quality shopping which in turn will be reflected in the changing emphasis of media reports - once dedicated to shock horror tales of street violence, we hope will now be more inclined to report on some of the many positive activities happening here.

This year's Festival encompasses many of the local businesses.

On Saturday, the restaurants, cafes and cocktails bars of Llankelly Place are combining to offer a Degustation Dinner as part of the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food Month.

Then on Sunday, Fitzroy Gardens will host the Macleay Street Long Tables, with numerous local restaurants from Jimmy Liks to The Bourbon to Kim Restaurant offering signature dishes from their menus, while cafes including Room 10 Espresso and Joe's Café will serve coffees.

Tim's thoughtful exhibition, Somewhere City, is a feature of the 2014 Festival, provoking us to think about the forces that shape our city, and what makes our streets and skies so uniquely "Sydney".

Tim will also act as a Guest Instagrammer for the festival, and be one of the judges for the Instagram #kingscrosscolour competition which will encourage the public to share their own takes on Kings Cross.

And as a further exploration of the rich cultural offering, James Dorahy - who's also a Potts Point resident - will be leading an Art Walk around no less than nine local galleries, as well as a studio visit to Alaska Projects.

So it's a wonderful offering, and it is fittingly launched by this thoughtful and inspiring exhibition.

Congratulations to Tim, and congratulations to the Potts Point Partnership on what I'm sure will be another important contribution to the evolving life of Potts Point and the Cross.