ARTSOURCE’S future in Fremantle is under something of a cloud.
The McGowan government has announced the organisation’s home at Old Customs House on Phillimore Street would be opened to expressions of interest from other groups.
Artsource’s latest internal newsletter says the “potential change of use would translate into the significant loss of 30 artist studios” and “substantial implications for Artsource’s projected income stream”.
The head of Artsource’s board, architect Fred Chaney, remains optimistic.
“My personal opinion is that the Old Customs House has a bright future as a visual arts centre in Fremantle,” Mr Chaney said. He stressed the building was not being put up for sale.
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said the city wants the 1908-built heritage building retained for arts purposes, and his contacts were reassuring him the status-quo would be maintained.
“It’s an essential part of Freo as a creative hub,” Dr Pettitt said.
“There aren’t many affordable, well-positioned places for artists to work in the heart of Freo…it’s not just important, it’s irreplaceable.”
The building is owned by the state’s local government, sport and cultural industries department, which has recently been reviewing its portfolio of culturally-significant properties.
Earlier this year the department created a storm when it almost forced out the popular Pica Bar from the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts building in the Perth cultural centre.
by JUSTIN STAHL