AWEsome walk

• Many of the artists opening up their studios for AWE enjoy a view over the West End from the National Hotel’s just-opened rooftop bar. Photo by Steve Grant.

FOUR West End organisations have come together to create one of the biggest open studio events ever seen in Fremantle.

Appropriately known as AWE, or Art in the West End, the initiative will involve two exhibitions and 98 artists opening their studios on Friday November 2 from 4 – 7pm.

The event will feature the launch of a new gallery space at the National Hotel, with local artists Annette Orr, Jennifer Sulaj and Lizzie Marinko gracing the historic building’s recently re-opened stairwell.

Artsource has been itching to ditch its reputation of having a closed shop in the Old Customs House on Phillimore Street and will be opening its 40 studios.

Although Artsource will have Moana Project Space’s exhibition It is a Long Time Since This Moment on show, marketing manager Sue-Lyn Aldrian-Moyle says it’s mostly about letting visitors see what artist do.

“I’ve told them it’s not an exhibition so not to get too fussy, but it’s about letting people see them at work so that we’re breaking down perceptions about what artists do,” Ms Aldrian-Moyle said.

PSAS Art Studios manager Tom Muller says they’ve got 50 artist in 35 studios, and it was a great initiative for the four organisations to align themselves to try and attract art appreciators into the historic precinct.

Level Up Studio co-founder Aidan Garnett says there’s been a great response to their street-art focussed space, with 500 people attending their opening.

He’s expecting to run major exhibitions of resident artists every six months or so, but says the space is flexible so they can hire the venue out to others.

National Hotel owner Karl Bullers has just launched the final stage of the building’s $10 million renovation after major fire damage, with gorgeous boutique rooms for guests (the Chook got a tour) a rooftop bar which will be open for Sunday sessions and the stairwell gallery.

Mr Bullers says in order to create the boutique feel of the upstairs rooms, he’s used local artisans and companies wehre possible, from the rock-solid four-poster bed Port Jarrah’s Clint Clarke has made for honeymooners to Fremantle Chocolate’s treats for visitors.

Appropriately, the first exhibition in the stairwell is titled Local, focusing on WA spaces and how people relate to them.

by STEVE GRANT

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