Eveleigh’s Carriageworks arts precinct has been saved from voluntary administration, thanks to financial pledges from a number of private foundations, five years of funding from the NSW government and a 10-year lease with the option to add two further periods of five years in the future.
The venue, which is located in what used to be Eveleigh’s rail yards and workshops, entered voluntary administration in May, becoming one of the most high-profile coronavirus casualties in the Australian arts industry.
At the time, the Carriageworks board cited the cancellation of six months worth of events due to lockdown – the venue generates 75 per cent of its revenue outside of government funding, primarily through on-site events and programs such as the Sydney Writers’ Festival (which was cancelled this year when restrictions kicked in).
Carriageworks’ salvation comes after a voluntary-administration process conducted by accounting group KPMG. The precinct has been rescued by a group of private foundations, including Geoff Ainsworth and Johanna Featherstone’s Oranges & Sardines Foundation, the Neilson Foundation, the Gonski Foundation and the Packer family.
“We have emerged from voluntary administration in the middle of a global pandemic with the longest lease in Carriageworks’ history and a revised business model, which is better able to cope with the challenges evident all around us,” Carriageworks chair Cass O’Connor said in a statement.
On-site activity is expected to resume once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted further, and the Carriageworks Farmers Market is slated to reopen in early August.
“Over 100 years ago this industrial place was born out of resilience and innovation,” Carriageworks CEO Blair French said in a statement. “Through sheer grit, determination and collaboration, we are still here with a promising, independent future. We can’t wait to welcome back the community.”