A GROWING number of young, creative entrepreneurs are moving to Fremantle amid council efforts to renew its reputation as Perth’s go-to place for the arts.
Over the past four months more than 35 artists and musicians have moved to Core Studios—a collaborative space set up by a young duo at the soon-to-be-demolished Queensgate Building in Kings Square.
Sam Newman, 24, and business partner Kate Daniel, 27, say they’re catering to local demand for shared spaces for all crafts. Newman says they’re riding on the success of MANY 6160, the open-plan shops and work spaces at the old Myer building, which opened in 2013.
“We considered going to Perth but our network is here and it’s all about knowing the right people to make things happen,” says Newman, who plays trombone in the local band Koi Child.
Together with curator Ellen Broadhurst, 23, they’re opening an art gallery and eatery called Hot Soup downstairs, opposite the town hall, on Wednesday or Thursday next week.
They’re also planning to run events, get involved in local festivals and team up with the MANY 6160 crew on projects.
It comes as the council this week decided to back a plan to invest $15,000 next financial year on creating a “centre of excellence”—which involves converting vacant properties into creative hubs.
Mayor Brad Pettitt says the plan allows the council to consider where it can relocate Core Studios and MANY 6160 once work starts on the Kings Square redevelopment project, which is still awaiting state government approval.
Dr Pettitt says once the government gives the green light—he hopes that will happen in the next few weeks—it’ll be about a year before the major overhaul starts.
He says a challenge for the council and fellow landlords is offering affordable rents to keep burgeoning entrepreneurs in the port city. A silver lining to Fremantle’s retail collapse, starting in 2012, was the emergence of entrepreneurs who could move into abandoned buildings at low cost.
Anthony Van Der Wielen, who manages the Manning family’s extensive property at High Street mall, says MANY 6160 traders will be welcome to move in once they’re dislodged.
by EMMIE DOWLING