The Journey So Far…
The story of Belconnen Arts Centre stretches back more than 20 years, to when a visionary community sought and secured land for a cultural centre on the spectacular banks of Lake Ginninderra, ensuring Belconnen Town Centre would have a creative community hub for generations to come.
Stage One of an architecturally stunning Belconnen Arts Centre opened to the public in late 2009, with the purpose of fuelling love of and engagement with the arts, and providing an outstanding centre of cultural activity in the ACT. In 2012, the ACT Government funded Stage Two plans and a development application; Cox Architecture, working with artsACT, BAC and community stakeholders, resolved a new design featuring a versatile 400 seat studio theatre, dubbed a “21st century town hall,” that will be unique in the ACT and will inspire new live performance and event creation.
During the 2016 ACT election, all three major political parties and all candidates for the seat of Ginninderra expressed support for completing stage two of Belconnen Arts Centre, and on 15 May 2017, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr committed $15 million to the construction project. Stage Two of Belconnen Arts Centre will include construction of the 400 seat auditorium, a new foyer, workshops and studios, improved galleries, a café and expanded catering facilities, and more space for creative residencies.
The Stage Two construction project is rocketing along, with the successful tender soon to be announced and works expected to be underway early in the second half of 2018. We plan to keep open as much of our existing facilities as possible; there will be disruption, however the plan is for our creative program to be active both on-site and throughout the ACT. In 2018, look out for BAC’s new creative program “In Transition”.
This page is designed to be a one-stop-shop of up to date information that you may need to know, and we’ll update it whenever we find out new details. We have fantastic relationships with so many different people, and we want to make sure everyone is clear which creative programs will be in operation during the transition, and in what form, and be as transparent as we can be about which spaces and facilities will be impacted. We’re also launching a Facebook group for the construction program that you can follow here.
How will the Arts Centre be affected?
- Parking has significantly changed. Hirer and visitor parking is no longer available. Four accessible car parks are on-site.
- Visitors to the Centre can park at Westfield, behind Nature Conservation House, or on-street on Emu Bank.
- See full details about parking and access here.
- The existing Main Gallery is planned to become the workshop spaces, accessible from the front of the building.
- We aim to minimise disruption to workshops by completing these spaces first, however, we cannot provide certainty regarding when these new spaces will be available. Term 2 activities can proceed in the current spaces, but future access to the spaces is dependent on interruption from other works.
- The new workshops will be larger, have higher capacity, additional services, and can be combined into one very large space.
- Matter and Spirit, Iteration and Tree Corridor, closing 27 May 2018, are the final exhibitions currently scheduled before works commence.
- During 2018 and until we open the completed Arts Centre, we will be partnering to present exhibitions around Canberra.
- The completed Arts Centre will have a new and larger main gallery and a new intimate exhibition space, and both will be purpose built and light controlled. The current foyer gallery will be retained and improved.
- The Foyer Gallery will currently be unavailable for bookings after 31 May 2018.
- Impacts on the Foyer Gallery during construction are hard to predict at this time and we want to ensure everyone visiting BAC has a great experience.
- The Foyer Gallery will be a light-filled gallery space with additional moveable walls and lighting, connections directly into our other gallery spaces and to the café.
- The completed Arts Centre will have purpose-built performance spaces, a large foyer space, and improved conference capacity.
- The Meeting Room may be available for a few months into the construction program.
- The existing Meeting Room will be converted and enlarged to become a new dance studio.
- The completed Arts Centre will have a conference room double the size of the existing Meeting Room.
- It is likely there will be some disruption to Dance Studio activities as there will be a sound lock and reception lounge area constructed. Term 2 activities will proceed; future access to the space is dependent on interruption from other works.
- The dressing room will be converted to a reception lounge area to accommodate participants from the two workshops and two dance studios at the front of the building.
- The completed Arts Centre will have a new dance studio at the front of the building, with Tarkett flooring for an additional range of dance activities, and complement the existing dance studio.
- The Creative Studios themselves will not be significantly modified.
- BAC will have additional resident spaces including a resident workshop and performing arts company office adjacent to the rehearsal room, and a production office/stage door.
- The administration offices will be relocated into the existing Creative Workshops with the outdoor workshop area enclosed.
- New access to the creative studios will be possible from Emu Bank through the existing Outdoor Gallery.
- Likely short-term impacts include noise and disruption to electrical supply and amenities.
- We aim to continue this program on-site at Belconnen Arts Centre & Tuggeranong Arts Centre, with potential rescheduling and relocation.
- We aim to continue offering IGNITE activities in our workshop and dance studios, however, there may be periods where this is not achievable, and activities may be rescheduled or relocated.
- We will expand our outreach activities to other centres and partner organisations.
- The completed Arts Centre will have a new café and catering space that connects with both the Foyer Gallery and theatre foyer, as well as the lakeside.
- We are looking at possible business models.
- Our top priority is to keep our team of staff, volunteers and tutors together, to provide a continuity of our key programs.
- We will continue, if possible, to work on-site at BAC in a relocated administration area.
Share the Journey – Completing Belconnen Arts Centre
- BAC’s design and construction timeline are subject to change.
- During construction, BAC plans to adapt and develop aspects of its Creative Program both on and offsite.
- BAC’s Stage 2 will be built under a design and construct process where variation is possible until the start of construction, currently planned to commence as early as July 2018.
- Construction is expected to be completed by late 2019, however this can be affected by weather and other factors.
- The completed arts centre is intended to do everything we can do now, but better, and more!
The ACT Government has selected two companies to submit tenders to design and construct in early 2018. Further information will be available in May.
From our blog:
A message of thanks from the Board, staff and community of supporters on the announcement of funding to complete Belconnen Arts Centre.