With the City of Fremantle considering turning the heritage Pilot’s Cottages at Arthur Head into Aboriginal art studios, I have been contemplating if there are not better solutions than the tokenism of handing over four small houses to our Noongar friends, that are not suited to be substantial art spaces, so here my suggestions to the city.
The former Port Cineaste building on Adelaide Street offers the opportunity to create a real art centre, similar to Mangkaja in Fitzroy Crossing, Mowanjum near Derby and the art centre at Warmun. A community centre that offers artist studios and a well managed retail outlet that would create income for the artists.
The site at Princess May Park is popular with Aboriginals, who frequent it daily. The building is substantial and offers the opportunity to open it up to the park with an al fresco cafe and would even allow for a small amphitheatre in the park for story telling and music performances.
With the Film and Television Institute and Clancys already there this could become a great art hub for the city. The potential is huge with the expected massive developments on Queen Victoria Street just East of it, which would mean a steady flow of pedestrians going past the art centre. Adelaide Street already is one of the major thoroughfares for people coming from the Northern and Eastern suburbs.
The site I propose is opposite the Adelaide Plaza shopping centre and the Basilica, and has plenty of parking with many car bays in Cantonment Street and Beach Street, and also in the Point Street car park, until that is being developed.
It might well be that the State Government could financially support such proposal.
P.S. While I presently occupy one of the Pilot’s Cottages as caretaker for the Fremantle Society, I expressed in an email to the Mayor and councilors last week that I can see a bigger picture for Arthur Head and would never stand in the way of it for selfish reasons.
Aboriginal artists from the Mowanjum community near Derby will exhibit their exquisite paintings at Japingka Gallery in High Street in Fremantle. Opening is 6pm today, Friday. October 15.
Don’t miss the stunning Wandjina spirit works by Donny Woolagooda.