Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where are We and How we got here

                                                                                  Bldg 24&15
                                                                                  142 Addison Road
Map of UP Space Gallery and Ultimo Project Studios at Addison Road Centre

The ULTIMO PROJECT artists’ studios evolved out of the artists’ space movements of the late nineteen seventies and early nineteen eighties. These were loose collectives of artists working with an initiative from the Artworkers Union aimed towards securing affordable housing and studio spaces for artists.

The Ultimo Project itself began in 1985 and became an incorporated Association in 1988. The organisation is managed by a voluntary committee of president, secretary, treasurer and up to six ordinary members and is generally self-funded. There have, however, been three or four instances of small amounts of financial assistance from the Australia Council for the Arts since the group’s inception. The group began in Ultimo (thus the name), then moved to Hereford Street, Glebe for six years. They then moved to Coulson Street, Erskineville for eight and a half years and 6 years ago moved again, taking up occupancy of premises at Addison Road Centre, Marrickville.

The aim of the Association since formation has remained primarily to function as a model studio, providing long-term, secure and affordable work spaces for member artists. The organisation currently has twenty fully occupied studios (some shared) with a long waiting list.

Many prominent artists started at the Ultimo Project studios. Artists have traditionally thrived in inner city areas such as Darlinghurst, Glebe and Newtown, valuing the older industrial parts of Sydney where rents were affordable and spaces not pristine. As such spaces are rapidly disappearing from the inner city due to gentrification and development, the serious scarcity of workspace for Sydney’s artists remains an issue of major concern.

The Addison Road Centre is one of the few remaining locations close to the city where artists’ studios can exist, and provides (due to it’s history, other tenants and the Centre’s physical attributes) a “natural” home for an artistic community. It presents an opportunity and a location that the Ultimo Project artists intend to develop for many years to come, building a greater focus for the increasing number of arts practitioners in the Marrickville Local Government Area.

The Ultimo Project artists comprise of sculptures, drawers, painters, photographers, video artist and installation artists.
The collective operates UP Space Gallery adjoining to the studio complex.  It is a not-for-profit, artist run space.  The space provides a professional platform for showcasing works by both emerging and professional artists who are unrepresented by the commercial galleries. It is also a way for the members to engage with the wider community of art practitioners, and by so doing, contribute to the enrichment of Sydney's visual arts culture.  

The Gallery Committee is now receiving proposals from curators and artists.  More information is available on the Application Form.  

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