A creative idea for Lismore CBD
SOME of the region’s 3000 artists may soon set up shopfronts in Lismore’s CBD if a proposal to bring vibrancy and life back into the city goes ahead.
Based on the successful Renew Newcastle program, Lismore’s Art in the Heart will see artists move into empty shopfronts, which promoters say will help both artists and landlords.
“It will be good for our artists, bring vibrancy into the CBD and stop anti-social behaviour like graffiti,” Arts Northern Rivers chief executive Lois Randall said.
“It will also be good for businesses because it will bring people back to the heart of Lismore.”
A meeting will be held in the Star Court Theatre on Wednesday to discuss the plan.
Renew Newcastle’s chief executive Marcus Westbury, who will attend the meeting, said under the project artists, film producers and designers will move into vacant shops on a rolling 30-day agreement for a token payment.
In return the shops will be maintained and fully insured.
He said since the program kicked off in Newcastle 18 months ago, foot traffic in Hunter Street Mall and nearby King Street had increased, with many landlords now renting their properties to full-paying commercial tenants.
“Twelve months ago there were about 20 empty shopfronts and about 12 were made available to the program,” he said.
“Six are now being leased by commercial tenants because people are coming back to the area.”
Marina Cavalieri is hoping to be one of the new tenants in Lismore. The textile designer is currently operating out of a warehouse in South Lismore, but reckons her business would boom if she had a street level shopfront.
Mosaicist Scott Harrow acknowledged that the idea may work well for some artists, but views it as a ‘Band-Aid’ solution from a council with no public art policy.