When Schoolhouse Studios co-founders and curators Alice Glenn and Elizabeth Barnett signed a six-month lease for a former Steiner school in Abbotsford, they knew their time at the Nicholson Street space was limited.
What they didn’t foresee was the swiftness at which Schoolhouse Studios would become a thriving arts hub and home for the local artist community. After multiple extensions on the lease, the studios’ time at Abbotsford finally came to a close in October last year, with the building is set to be demolished to make way for 80 new townhouses.
Reflecting on their time at Nicholson Street, Glenn says that every moment at the re-imagined school space has been a gift. “The last three years…feels a bit like a dream,” she says. “It’s been our little utopia – so leafy and so much space, so close to the city.
“It feels like everyone that’s walked through those gates has made the most of the site, knowing that it won’t be around forever. Artists have worked on much larger scales than they would usually — because they could — and Schoolhouse has crammed as many events into the beautiful halls as we could fit on the calendar.”
While sad to say goodbye to the large site at Nicholson Street, the studio will be relocating just around the corner to a newer, more centralised space.
Located on Rupert Street in Collingwood, the new Schoolhouse Studios site will bring together both artists and the wider community. As well as specific studio spaces and facilities for resident artists, there will also be a public precinct with café, event area and a unique exhibition space.
But the Schoolhouse team can’t do it on their own. With the need to raise $100,000 for the new site, they are turning to the community for support for the first $50,000 through a Pozible crowd-funding campaign.
For an organisation that contributes so much to the local community, it seems only fitting that Schoolhouse is looking towards that exact community to help it grow.
Schoolhouse hopes that the Rupert Street site will be ready for tenants in the middle of this year and are accepting expressions of interest from artists.
To find out more, head to the Pozible campaign page here.