31 July 2020

The future of two major creative hubs in Collingwood has been secured with $800,000 of funding provided, helping them to survive the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) and continue to support hundreds of small creative businesses and independent artists

Nancy Oziya at work at The Social Studio’s new home at Collingwood Yards. Image courtesy The Social Studio

The Victorian government announced the funding for Abbotsford Convent and Collingwood Yards which will support them as they provide rent relief to tenants, implement necessary public health measures and welcome back visitors when it is safe to do so.

$500,000 will go to the Abbotsford Convent Foundation, the not for profit organisation that manages the Convent precinct which is home to 126 studio spaces, 20 event venues, two public galleries, a school, radio station, four cafes and gardens.

As well as providing a home base for more than 150 creative businesses, Abbotsford Convent ordinarily hosts more than 4,000 events and welcomes one million visitors each year. With the restrictions on events and gatherings, vital revenue sources for the Foundation have dried up.

Despite this, the Foundation has been working with its creative tenant community to provide rent relief. The grant will support the Foundation to remain sustainable as it continues to offer this assistance.

The funding will also support the Foundation as it implements public health measures to support everyone who works in or visits the site.

Further up Johnston Street, $300,000 has been provided to Contemporary Arts Precincts, the not for profit organi-sation behind Collingwood Yards, the new creative precinct on the site of the former Collingwood Tech School.

Originally slated to open in May, the first tenants started to move to the site earlier this year while final building works were completed. While construction was able to continue, further tenants, ranging from creative organisa-tions to retail and hospitality businesses, were forced to delay or defer moving.

Contemporary Arts Precincts will also use the grant to provide rent relief to Collingwood Yards tenants and to put public health measures in place so it can finally open to the public once restrictions are eased.