Oxford Street, Darlinghurst has been in a sad state of neglect for a quite some time now. Once the gay centre of Sydney, poor traffic management and the dead hand of council-owned property have led to a slow decline. The last few years have seen restaurants, shops and the gay scene all heading for the exits, with much of the action filtering into Crown Street and surrounds in Surry Hills.
Two artists have decided that it’s time to regenerate Oxford Street to its glory days. Juliet Rosser and Sam Mitchell-Fin approached the council and negotiated a cheap rental for the shop at number 72. In return, they have set up a store that gives artists the opportunity to rent spaces at affordable rates in order show and sell their work. They call the venture Platform 72 and after a mere two weeks, it’s already a hive of activity.
Artists can hire the windows, the back wall, or place items amid a curated collection. Works include paintings, photography, sculpture, jewellery, ceramics and leather goods, as well as items for the home, all of which are handmade. Rentals start at $40 per week and the store takes no commission – a bonus for both artists and customers.
Some of the items that took our fancy included the beautiful carved timber plates and utensils by Bob Gilmour from Port Douglas and the exquisite ostrich handbags and satchels with rose gold hardware from Victoria & Maude, all hand sewn and individually numbered.
If the opening sales figures are anything to go by, this is a trend set to continue. Next stop William Street?
72 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
Tue to Fri 11am–7pm