Arts groups eye ambulance station
IPSWICH'S growing arts community could be given a permanent home - in the old North Ipswich ambulance building.
A proposal made by local artists for a community arts hub will be assessed in an independent feasibility study early next year.
The six-month study will consider the structure and ownership of a community arts centre, and will identify the best site for the hub.
Arts Minister Rachel Nolan said Ipswich City Council and the State Government became interested in the study after being approached by the Ipswich Arts Council.
"It was a good idea that needs to be looked at and fleshed out," Ms Nolan said.
"We decided to help fund the study, which will consider community views and have an outsider's look at the proposal.
"This building has been suggested as a possibility by the arts community, and it is a great heritage space," Ms Nolan said.
Ipswich Arts Council project co-ordinator Suzanne Lewis said the study was the result of a long planning process.
"We pitched it a year ago, and we've been meeting regularly ever since," Ms Lewis said.
"Our group has experienced the same problems as other arts groups - there are no venues available to us in Ipswich."
Ms Lewis said that local groups were struggling to find facilities, and knew of one group that had to move its event to 12 different venues.
She said that the arts hub would be a shared space for people to come together to rehearse, perform and exhibit their works.
Mayor Paul Pisasale said the initiative would help to empower and unite Ipswich art groups.
"What's important is that the community has total ownership of the centre, and we need to make sure the hub will stand up and be self-sufficient, which could mean a joint effort from the public and private sectors."
The study will cost $30,000 and be jointly funded by council and the State Government.