Freo's View

FREMANTLE BEST LOCATION FOR ABORIGINAL CENTRE

 

“It is well beyond our capacity of funding” said Councillor Andrew Sullivan about the Council agenda item to do a $ 50.000 feasibility study for a Fremantle Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the preferred J Shed location at Bathers Beach.

And that is unfortunately the huge problem, because indications from the WA State Government are that they want to built the Aboriginal centre in Perth, ideally in Burswood, the electorate of Ben Wyatt, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the Treasurer.

While I would absolutely love to have an Aboriginal Centre in Fremantle, and have been calling for it for many years, I believe it is unrealistic for the City of Fremantle to do a feasibility study before getting funding commitment from the State. Should we spend $ 50,000 of ratepayers money on what might only be a pipe dream that will never be realised because the State Government is so bloody Perth-centric?

If I were wealthy I would be very happy to donate my own money for an Aboriginal Centre in Freo because the story of our indigenous people needs to be told, and international tourists need to and want to have an Aboriginal experience.

Now how can we convince the Premier and Cabinet that Fremantle deserves another tourist attraction?

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE’S ARTY ARTHUR’S HEAD

Posted in art, arthur head, city of fremantle, j shed, photography, Uncategorized by freoview on April 17, 2019

 

J Shed

J Shed 2

 

Two arty photos I took this morning in Fremantle. The top one is new art by J Shed sculptor Greg James in front of the door to stone artist Jina Lee‘s studio there.

The bottom photo is of footprints in the Whalers Tunnel.

Roel Loopers

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STUNNING PEACEFUL PHOTOGRAPHY MOMENTS AT J SHED

 

zzzzz

 

The eclectic and cluttered upstairs gallery at sculptor Greg James’ studio in J Shed at Fremantle’s Bathers Beach is always worth a visit, but even more so now with the Peaceful Moments exhibitions.

There are only five large photos by Amerigo Carello and they alone should be seen by anyone interested in outstanding landscape photography. The three landscapes where the rising sun creates dappled light in the undulated scenery are exquisitely painterly. They are sublime and should be bought for a corporate collection or boardroom! There are also two images of Fremantle. One of the Maritime Museum just before sunrise and a night shot of historic High Street.

There are also very creative collages by Ivan Zuvela, sweet beach landscape paintings by David Moran and of course a variety of smaller sculptures from the Greg James stable by him Lesley Barrett and others.

J Shed is an enigma. It frustrates Fremantle Council because in its desperation of activating the area it appears to overlook the significance of it as a venue where great art has been created for more than twenty years.

On Saturday Arthur’s Head looked like an ant hill with hundreds and hundreds of people, including passengers from the Sea Princess, climbing the stairs to the Roundhouse. The West End of Freo was buzzing.

The Bathers Beach Art Precinct is on the radar of our Councillors and City officers and it is likely it will be an agenda item for the Ordinary Council meeting in April. Will they come up with new creative solutions, such as a sculpture park on the A Class Reserve at J Shed, or change tune totally and abandon the arts precinct idea? It is anyone’s guess at present.

Go and have a look at the J Shed show. You won’t regret it!

Roel Loopers

 

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PROMOTING ARTHUR’S HEAD SHOULD BE FREO CITY PRIORITY

 

When the J Shed artists present their case at the City of Fremantle on Monday officers and elected members should first decide if they want a visual art precinct or activate the area, because the latter has been the buzzword for years at Fremantle Council.

The reality is that a visual art centre is great and will attract a certain type of visitors, but it will not create mass activation of Arthur’s Head. Even if the City were prepared to invest money and build a cafe at the number one studio, with an outdoor deck from which to watch the Indian Ocean and the setting sun, the area won’t suddenly get a huge number of people, but as the boardwalk and Bathers Beach House have shown at the southern part of Bathers Beach visitors’ numbers will increase and so will the use of the beach.

What also needs to happen with some urgency is making the Whalers Tunnel more attractive and re-installing the displays which were removed from the nooks by the Maritime Museum. There is also a sign in the tunnel that claims that convict labour was used to build it, but convicts arrived in Fremantle well after the tunnel was built.

And signage all over the area needs to be improved. Why for example is there no sign at the bottom of the steps to point out that the Roundhouse is the oldest public building in Western Australia and where is the sign near the tunnel entrance to point to the J Shed art studios?

It is naive from Fremantle Council to believe that artist studios will create significant activation, but the Roundhouse is doing that without much support from the City’s marketing department, so stepping up the promotion¬† for the area should be the very first step for the City to undertake. There is not much value in constantly talking about activating the West End of our city when nothing is done to significantly promote it. Walk the walk, Fremantle Council and don’t expect the artists and Roundhouse volunteers to do the job your marketing department and the Tourism Commission should be doing.

Roel Loopers

 

 

PIECEMEAL MANAGEMENT OF HISTORIC ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

I am surprised to see this message from the City of Fremantle on Facebook

We’re seeking applications from groups, organisations or individuals for the use of Unit 1 J Shed in the Bathers Beach Art Precinct! You can register your expression of interest for the studio space by next Wednesday here: https://bit.ly/2QrndhQ

And when going to the link it includes:

We’re seeking applications from groups, organisations or individuals for the use of Unit 1 J Shed.

Unit 1 J Shed is located within the Bathers Beach Art Precinct (BBAP) and is ideal as an individual or shared studio space. 

BBAP is a dynamic, innovative and authentic art and culture area and applicants will need to showcase how their proposal will benefit the area.

Applications close Wednesday 19 December 2018.

Current artists have been told that Fremantle Council will address the art precinct and J Shed during their February 2019 meeting, and I assumed that after the Sunset Events tavern debacle Council would consider different options for Arthur’s Head and a Masterplan for the historic precinct.

This is just more piecemeal management of the important tourist district that really deserves a whole lot more attention from Fremantle Council. This is very disappointing!

Roel Loopers

UPDATE! I have just been made aware that the EOI is only for the period of January 7 to March 7, so that is reassuring.

 

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ROSS POTTER OPEN STUDIO AT J SHED

 

14 Dec Ross Potter open studio

 

Fremantle J Shed artist ROSS POTTER will have an OPEN STUDIO this coming Friday, December 14 from 5-8pm.

Go and have a look at the excellent photorealistic drawings Ross patiently creates over many weeks and even months.

Currently he is doing a life-size drawing of Perth Zoo elephant Tricia.

J Shed is at Fleet Street, just on your way out to the South Mole.

Roel Loopers

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CHRISTMAS AT FREO’S ARTHUR’S HEAD

 

FBH christmas sunday

Dec 9 J Shed open day

 

If you are coming into Fremantle on Sunday don’t forget that the Fishing Boat Harbour traders are putting up a special Christmas event for the next three weeks from midday on.

Performances, live music, a market, kids activities, etc.

Also on Sunday is the J Shed Open Day, just a three-minute walk from the Fishing Boat Harbour, so pop into the studios there, and while there walk up the steps to view the amazing underwater photos at the Glen Cowans photo gallery next to the Roundhouse.

Roel Loopers

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WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF ARTHUR’S HEAD?

 

I hear that J Shed artists have been told by the City of Fremantle that license/lease negotiations will be on hold until Fremantle Council has debated the future of the shed, and presumably the entire Bathers Beach Art Precinct, at their monthly meeting in February next year.

While this has created some uncertainty and stress for the artists, whose future at J Shed is not secure again, it is not necessarily a bad thing that Council wants to revisit plans for Arthur’s Head, as the Bathers Beach Art Precinct in its present form is flawed and not working as well as it could.

I would like to see a real Masterplan with long-term goals for the historic precinct and the City spending money on infrastructure such as public toilets at beach level, an outdoor deck at Unit 1, and making the area into an attraction instead of an afterthought.

It is clear from the Sunset Events fiasco that ‘applicant driven’ ideas can grow out of proportion, as was also the case with talking about a large burger restaurant for the small Esplanade hub. Council struggles to contain these ideas so that they are actually what the elected members wanted to achieve and don’t get kidnapped by commercial profit thinking.

Arthur’s Head is an amazing precinct with huge potential to make it into a real tourist attraction for visitors and the Fremantle community, but that requires financial commitment and creativity from Council and not just filling up vacant spaces ad hoc.

It is time to get back to the drawing board, conduct some intense community consultation, make the Roundhouse a much bigger drawcard with proper marketing and evening events, light up the Pilot Cottages at night and create better connectivity between Victoria Quay and the Fishing Boat Harbour.

The historic significance of Arthur’s Head needs to be the main consideration, but that does not mean a good arts and culture component can’t be part of the future there. A stunning sculpture park on the A Class Reserve in front of J Shed could be amazing.

Roel Loopers

 

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GREG JAMES’ EDMUND RICE BRONZE SCULPTURE

Posted in art, bathers beach, city of fremantle, culture, education, greg james, history, j shed, Uncategorized by freoview on November 7, 2018

 

Edmund Rice

 

Fremantle J Shed artist Greg James is one of Western Australia’s truly outstanding bronze sculpture artists, as he proves again with the remarkable sculpture of Edmund Ignatius Rice, that will be installed at the Christian Brothers College in January.

Irish born Rice(1762-1844) was a Roman Catholic missionary and educationalist who established the Christian Brothers, who still follow the traditions established by Rice.

If you happen to walk past J Shed at Bathers Beach ask Greg James if you can have a look at the bronze artwork.

Greg is already working on his next work that is very Fremantle. His great, great grandmother was a passenger on the Marquis D’Angelsea in 1829, that was shipwrecked at Bathers Bay. She lost all her belongings, including her piano, which will be the focus of James’ heritage art work, and something the City of Fremantle should definitely buy.

 

Roel Loopers

THE FUTURE OF FREO’S J SHED

 

With the saga about a tavern at J Shed on Bathers Beach now finally closed it is now time for Fremantle Council to look at a long-term plan for historic Arthur’s Head because the Bathers Beach Art Precinct idea has clearly not improved activation of the area, and that is what Council supposedly was hoping for when approving the 21-year tavern lease with Sunset Events.

There are a few simple facts about the art precinct and that is that quite a few artists have tried but could not even earn enough to pay the rent, and only a few real professionals such as Greg James, Jenny Dawson and Glen Cowans have survived and contributed to the area, and to a lesser extend also the messy looking David Giles gallery where many Sunday painters gather.

We also know that hospitality operators looked at the No 1 glass wall studio at J Shed but did not believe it was financially viable to start a business because they would have had to invest in sewerage, toilets and building a commercial kitchen, and the costs were prohibitive. It was also questioned if a hospitality venue would be a good neighbour next to a semi-industrial art workshop where grinding, welding, wax and bronze melting takes place.

Activation is a buzz word in Fremantle, as was placemaking for a few years, but what does it really mean and how much of it is needed at Arthur’s Head? Already the Roundhouse attracts some 150,000 visitors a year and that is the number of people actually going through the door, while many who walk up to the limestone cliff face just wander around without entering. It is a coming and going that make the place look popular, and the Glen Cowans gallery next to it offers fantastic underwater photography that is admired by many visitors from all over the world.

If Fremantle Council is seriously interested in activating the area why does it not use the lawn next to the Roundhouse and the A Class reserve in front of J Shed more often for events, one has to wonder. Why for example is the far west end of High Street not used as a stage for the Street Arts Festival to attract people there and help the activation Freo councillors keep dreaming about? Why is there no weekend art and craft market in the area?

Where is the investment in the area when Bathers Beach still does not have public toilets and where the connectivity from The Fishing Boat Harbour to Victoria Quay is still not resolved properly? Why are the Pilot’s Cottages not lit up at night, that would also discourage homeless people from using them?

Why also do we live with scaffolding and fencing around the cliff face since May, and work has still not started on it when tourists numbers and cruise ship visits will increase during the warmer summer months? Why has it taken so long, nearly half a year!, to find a solution?

Fremantle Council needs to walk the walk and put ratepayers’ money to good use at Arthur’s Head, because the area looks run down and uncared for and that is unacceptable for this heritage and tourist precinct. Forget activation, prioritise tender loving care first!

Roel Loopers

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