Freo's View


Posted in art, city of fremantle, j shed, Uncategorized by freoview on July 5, 2018


Jenny Dawson art


Fremantle J Shed ceramic artist Jenny Dawson was a member of the team that won the Playspace Award by Park&Leisure Australia for the Piney Lakes Sensory Playground in Melville.

” This award is given to a regional level play space that involves a range of stakeholders, contributes to the creation of a sense of “place’’ for its local community and exhibits landscape and/or structural design innovation that delights and aids childhood development.”

Jenny Dawson collaborated with students of three primary schools in the area and DADAA artists to create the work.

Roel Loopers



Posted in art, city of fremantle, j shed, Uncategorized by freoview on August 12, 2017


Jenny Dawson ceramic classes


Jenny Dawson, one of Western Australia’s best ceramic artists is holding workshops at her J Shed studio at Bathers Beach in Fremantle later this month.

Learn how to design and make your own ceramic wall piece.

Classes are on Thursday August 29 from 2pm to 4.30 pm, Thursday August 31 at the same time, and also on Sunday September 10 from 2-4.30 pm.

Jenny is very well known for her public artworks, such as the one at the water playground at Perth’ Elizabeth Quay.

I don’t know what the workshops cost, so contact Jenny Dawson on 0417 911 078 or email


Roel Loopers




Posted in aboriginal, art, elizabeth quay, fremantle, western australia by freoview on February 4, 2017



It is always good to hear that Fremantle artists are involved in major public art projects so I went to Elizabeth Quay in Perth on Friday to have a look at the water playground designed by Aboriginal artist Sandra Hill with the ceramic work done by Freo J Shed artist Jenny Dawson.

They were testing the water again when I was there at 10 am so no kids enjoying the water spouts.

Roel Loopers



Posted in art, bathers beach art precinct, city of fremantle by freoview on February 27, 2016

J Shed


While this Friday the first big 1,000 patrons Missy Higgins concert was held at J Shed, it is time for the City of Fremantle to revisit the concept of the Bathers Beach Art Precinct as it is inadequately managed by the Community Development Department and is a disaster in waiting.

Sunset Events has so far not helped to revitalise the area and the number 1 studio at J Shed is a junk yard for most of the week. The Sunday BBQ sessions lack atmosphere and there are no food vans, as was promised, but just a single food operator. It has not attracted many people at all because of that.

The promised art theme for the project also has not eventuated, so who at the COF is responsible for checking that operators actually implement what they promise to do after they sign a contract with the City?

What we now have is a vacant shed for 5-6 days a week, pretty bland and uninspiring Sunday afternoon sessions, and the occasional Friday night concert. That is not enough to help activate that part of Fremantle.

Getting new tenants for the number 4 studio has become a farce with the preferred tenants only being offered a 1+1 year license by the City of Fremantle. That is ridiculous and shows the Department does not know much about running a business. A new small business needs a long time to establish and will unlikely make a profit in the first two years, so why would the artists put their hard-earned money into a business when the licence is just two years? And why discriminate against them when other tenants at the BBAP have 3+3 year licenses with the City?

BBAP does not work because of inconsistent decisions and it has done little to activate the area. Imagine the Roundhouse volunteers being told they had to activate a tiny room in their offices while they are the only ones actually activating Arthur Head with over 110,000 visitors a year, but it is o.k. for an artist just metres away to only open her studio to the public for a few hours on Sunday afternoon.

The Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre has also done little to attract larger crowds and does not even offer an indigenous music/dance experience for the thousands of cruise ship passengers. Instead they now share the centre with an Aborginal health service that is unlikely to attract large numbers to the cottage. When I suggested to a City manager last year to do music/dance events he told me the artists had to be paid without COF knowing how many people would attend. Welcome to the real world of running a business where one has to take financial risks to grow!

To top it all off Sunset Events has appropriated the J Shed name for its own events business without considering that J Shed was already a well-established arts venue with artists such as Greg James and Jenny Dawson operating from it for twenty years. That’s pretty inconsiderate.

Last but not least I would like to know if the organisers were allowed by Fremantle Ports to fence off part of Fleet Street for the food vans and portaloos last night, and if City of Fremantle Councillors and staff received free tickets for the Missy Higgings concert.

Roel Loopers


Posted in elizabeth quay, fremantle, perth by freoview on January 30, 2016


I made my epic journey from Fremantle across the mighty roaring Swan river this morning to have a look at the Elizabeth Quay development in Perth and must say I am underwhelmed. It appears to be a whole lot of money for not that much at all, but that is just my first impression.

To be fair to the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority EQ is still a work in progress and will benefit from more buildings around it and more hospitality venues. There is also still a major ceramics artwork by Sandra Hill and Jenny Dawson to be installed, so I will reserve my final judgment for a few years.

The thing that impressed me most was the giant bird man in a boat by Aboriginal artist Laurel Nannup. It’s stunning!

There was not much food on offer so why did the MRA not put signs around EQ to point out that the Swan River Community Market was on only metres to the east of the development? After all they pay to have the markets there so why not do some decent marketing to support the stallholders.

Roel Looper


Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on October 31, 2014

The Fremantle Aboriginal Cultural Centre will be open this Saturday 1st November, between 12pm-4pm, as part of the Bathers Beach Art Precinct Open Day.

THE ORIGIN OF DOTS AND DIDJERIDOOS. Perhaps the most recognisable components of Aboriginal culture are Dots and the Didjeridoo, but where did these cultural art forms originate? Come visit the Aboriginal Cultural Centre, view our artefact display and Aboriginal Art or take a tour and the richness and diversity of Aboriginal Culture including the origin of dots and didjeridoos. Tours start at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

Next door the David Giles, Wild Twig and Glen Cowans art studios will also be open and down at beach level the J Shed mob of Greg James, Janet Nixon, Jenny Dawson and Peter Zuvela also have open house, with live music and sausage sizzle.

It’s all part of the 2014 Fremantle Festival!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle by freoview on October 8, 2014

Round House 1



The Fremantle BATHERS BEACH ART PRECINCT  is one-year-old and has failed to do what it set out to do; activate the area. That only comes as a surprise to those naïve Councillors who came up with the flawed concept that artist studios would be huge attractors to the Freo community and tourists. They were never going to be and the small residential heritage Pilot’s Cottages were never going to attract top W.A. artists, simply because they are unsuitable and too dark for studios and too small for serious art galleries.

The BBAC is also always flawed because it tries to incorporate three significantly different areas. There is the top of Arthur Head at Captain’s Lane, the J Shed down at Bathers Beach, and Kidogo Arthouse at the Old Port Project. The historic significance of the area was ignored because some young Councillors decided it would be perfect for an arts precinct. It never was and never will be.

The only business that has worked up at Captain’s Lane is the Glen Cowans Photography Gallery, and one only has to walk in to see why. The place just oozes professionalism and class. This is as good a gallery as one can get in a tiny cottage, with great displays, furniture and outstanding photos, all printed and framed to very high quality. Wander next door though to the Wild Twig artist collective and one is in a different world. Yes, they try hard but they lack the style and class the Cowans gallery has.

Next door to that Mutima tried very hard and had a lovely gallery but their concept was bewildering because they also sold clothes. But at least they did have music and movie events that actually attracted new people to the area.

The Aboriginal Cultural Centre is also struggling to attract sufficient visitors’ numbers to warrant existence and I am not surprised about that. It was always just Wadjela-white people- patronising tokenism to put something as significant as our City’s indigenous centre in a shitty little residential cottage that formerly was the office of the harbour pilots. Our Nyoongar brothers and sisters deserve something much better and more prominent, in a better inner city location, and I feel sorry for the delightful Brendan Moore who is trying to make the Centre a success.

It shows how serious the City of Fremantle is about our Aboriginal Centre that the yearly funding for it is less than the money spent on the once a year four-hour Wardarnji Festival. Appalling!

J Shed at Bathers Beach has housed successful professional artists for over twenty years, so why was there suddenly the eagerness that sculptor Greg James and his artists in residence, and ceramic artist Jenny Dawson and her collaborating artists had to become performers, open to the public? These are professional business people who work throughout the year on public and private art projects worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but that was not good enough for those who don’t understand the arts industry.

The main attractor at Arthur Head is the Round House, our State’s oldest public building. More than 110,000 people come through the door there every year.

It is kept open by less than 40 Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides, who have an office, lunchroom, kitchen and toilet in a small cottage at Mrs Trivett Lane. These mainly elderly volunteers open the Round House-hail or shine-363 days of the year from 10.30 to 3.30 and fire the cannon at 1 pm, but that is not good enough for the COF officers who have told them that to get a new lease on the cottage they will have to share it and one of the rooms of the cottage needs to be activated and opened to the public. Why?!

Before the Bathers Beach Art Precinct started there was 24/7 activation of the area. The Harbour pilots did their day and night shifts, the Crookes family kids brought friends home from Lance Holt school to play on the grass, the family had friends over and barbeques and engaged with passing tourists. Many overseas visitors were introduced by the kids to our local bush tucker when the lilly pilly were in abundance.

The Fremantle Society held their meetings, let other organizations use the cottage, created heritage festival events at Arthur Head, community Boche nights, Australia Day fireworks BBQ, etc. and I lived there as the care-taker, but they, like the Crookes family and Fremantle Port Pilots, were not good enough for the City of Fremantle. The area needed to be reactivated with artists studios, and what a flawed concept that is.

Where are the activation events of BBAP? Where is the art market, why is Wardarnji not held up there but at the Fremantle Arts Centre, why are the community Boche nights in collaboration with FICRA not re-introduced?

Instead of activation of the area we now have a nightly ghost town up there that attracts anti-social behaviour. Most cottages are only open from 11-5 Thursday to Sunday, the Aboriginal Centre is not open on weekends, and on weekdays only from 9am to noon. On the long Queens Birthday weekend only the highly professional Glen Cowans Photo Gallery was open on the Monday, and of course the Round House.

Activation does not happen, it has to be inspired and organised and real money has to be spent by the City of Fremantle to make it work. Why not have a pop-up bar one evening a week as they do in Lemon Lane in Claremont, for example.

The one summer event that really and highly activates the area is the Saturday Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets. It attracts many thousands of people who are all loving it, and it is of course a private enterprise because at Freo Council they wait and see and do the same old, same old festivals each and every year, and none of these festivals embrace the west end of town with any significance.

I love art and I have been advocating for an indigenous centre in Freo for many years, but unfortunately the Bathers Beach Art Precinct is another one of Council’s  flawed ideas. And now the new silly idea is to put a live music venue and micro-brewery at J Shed. Yep, let’s ignore the heritage significance, yep, let’s ignore it is an art precinct, let’s now try an entertainment precinct instead. Do you have any more bright ideas, Freo-thought bubble-Council?

Roel Loopers

Disclosure: I am a volunteer guide at the Round House and also involved in the Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets.


Posted in art, fremantle by freoview on July 23, 2014

Fremantle ceramic artist Jenny Dawson will be collaborating with Nyoongar artist Sandra Hill on the $ 232,000.00 noisewall public artwork for Leach Highway, that will be erected between Weshpool and Abernethy roads.

The welcome to country artwork, that is required to be “eclectic and striking”, will be designed by Sandra Hill after consultation with Nyoongar elders, and will be made of laser cuts, words, painting, wooden panels, lights and ceramics.

J Shed at Bathers Beach will be the creative hub for the project, so a great promotion for the Bathers Beach Art Precinct.

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, fremantle by freoview on July 16, 2014

Arthur Head


Just an observation. The City of Fremantle claims that they have a long list of artists and arts organisations who want to move into the Bathers Beach Art Precinct, but the No 1 studio at J Shed has been empty for months, and it does not look exactly  as if anyone is in a hurry to move into the cottage at Captain’s Lane, vacated by Mutima Art, either. I hear the next door neighbours from the Wild Twig Gallery might want to take over that cottage as well.

To establish a decent art precinct at Arthur Head the city needs to be more selective about the quality of art they want to have up there. Mediocrity is not going to attract the masses, I fear, so pro-actively trying to get some top and well-established artists up on the heritage hill would be a very good way forward. What it needs is artists of the calibre of sculptor Greg James, photographer Glen Cowans, and ceramic artist Jenny Dawson, who are great assets to the Fremantle arts scene and the Bathers Beach Art Precinct.

Roel Loopers



Posted in art, fremantle by freoview on October 18, 2013

The Fremantle Bathers Beach Art Precinct at Arthur Head is a little bit isolated in the far west of our city, so make sure to visit the galleries, tell your friends and interstate and overseas visitors about it. They need and deserve our support!

Up at Captain’s Lane the old Pilots Cottages are being transformed into artist’s studios and galleries and the City is investing money to create and Indigenous Cultural Centre there as well. At number 10 a group of artists will share the cottage, while at number 11 MUTIMA ARTHOUSE has already set up shop. They sell a variety of art and goods, so check it out. Mutima also does percussion workshop for all those who like a bit of rhythm. It’s good for the soul and to get rid of bad moods and it’s energetic, so good for your health as well. Try it!

At number 9 Captain’s Lane is the gorgeous GLEN COWANS UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY. Glen’s photo are breathtakingly stunning and they come in all sizes, so they are affordable for even the smallest wallet and purse. Also great for corporate collections and boardrooms! If still photography is not what you want, have a look at the amazing videos by Glen’s wife Lousie Stazzionelli. They are wonderful. They are also a great way to look at sharks close up without having to worry about being bitten, and the playful dolphins are divine!

Glen Cowans will have the exhibition Shadows In The Sea of photos taken at Costa Rica and the Caribbean for the Fremantle Festival, he will also open the gallery seven days a week during that time. Both Glen and Mutima will open on Friday and Saturday evenings for the festival.

At J SHED French artist MAGALI has set up her printmaking workshop and gallery and is the neighbour of sculptors GREG JAMES and JANET NIXON, who are the neighbours of ceramic artist JENNY DAWSON and photographer PETER ZUVELA. Peter does photography workshops. Have a browse, and a chat with the artists and buy some presents. Christmas is only two months away!

Roel Loopers


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