Art in the heart of Lismore
THOSE who missed Michael Rogowski’s striking light projection at Lismore’s Lantern Parade last month need not worry.
The local artist is about to be the first to open a temporary space in one of the Lismore CBD’s empty shops as part of the Art in the Heart initiative, designed to bring greater vitality to the city.
The news came as Lismore was proclaimed a ‘Creative Enterprise Hub’ – the only one in regional NSW – bringing with it a $100,000 State Government grant to employ an Art in the Heart project manager.
The initiative, based on the successful Renew Newcastle program, will see artists take short-term leases on empty shop fronts for a peppercorn rent.
Yesterday, Mr Rogowski said he was proud to be the first artist to benefit from the scheme after he received a call from Lismore Central shopping centre manager Monique Smallcombe offering him a sizable space on the first floor.
“I’ve been long searching for a space in which I can both exhibit my ideas and also find out what other artists and members of the public would like to see,” he said.
Mr Rogowski is interested in using technology to enable residents to imagine future possibilities for Lismore through projections and lightening.
Ms Smallcombe said she was keen to participate in the program and after checking with her head office got the go-ahead.
“We are delighted to be the first space to be utilised by Art in the Heart,” she said. “As soon as I learned about the project I could see thevalue in placing artists in empty premises for short periods.”
Ms Smallcombe is not the only one to immediately realise the project’s potential.
The owners of the former Harvey World Travel building in Magellan Street, who intend turning the premises into an upmarket restaurant, have also offered the use of their space from next month.
Lismore Regional Gallery director Brett Adlington, who has taken over the reigns of the initiative, said plans were progressing faster than many had hoped.
“It’s great. We haven’t even advertised for a project manager yet and we have a couple of businesses on board, and I expect more will be interested once we really get it up and running,” he said.
“It’s all about bringing greater energy into the CBD.”