“We employ the transformative capacity of the arts to engage, inspire and challenge the community”
This Mission informs our decisions and we almost daily hear stories of how artists, visitors and those using the many Depot services experience meaningful engagement, are inspired in their creative practice and often challenged. Last year we undertook a review of the use of our facilities to determine how fit for purpose they were in relation to our Mission. The Board of Trustees also considered research findings by Linda Blincko concerning changes in the arts and creative sector over the past decade. As a result, we are implementing three changes to our facilities, largely funded by a much-appreciated grant from Lotteries, that will keep the depot in step with the opportunities and challenges of the creative environment both now and into the future. Below is the new internal layout for the Depot and details of these changes that will take place mid-January to early February.
A critical question explored was the viability of galleries, given the development of secondary markets and significant changes in primary arts markets, away from galleries and towards art fairs, charity art auctions, online sales from artists’ personal websites and national and international sites. In our experience, exhibitions that remain popular have most of the following characteristics; they convey meaning, tell a story, build a sense of cultural/historic/local/national identity across a variety of themes, and involve audience participation. We are excited about our 2019 exhibition programme and have accepted proposals from artists that meet these characteristics and we will also be reconfiguring the gallery space in January to better facilitate these exhibitions. The Art Room will be better position and furnished providing a variety of price accessible work from our members for visitors to explore and purchase.
A concern was the off site location of the ArtsLab programme, which has been operating at Whare Toi – Kerr St Artspace for a number of years. Our conversations with creatives tell stories of isolation and a desire to belong to a creative community and network
with other creatives. The Whare Toi is distant from the creative and supportive environment of the Depot with all the creative services and facilities we offer. In response, we are shifting the ArtsLab programme to the Depot Artspace February 2019 and reconfiguring the current Art Room space to provide a workroom for ArtsLab seminars that will also be available for hire by artists and the community. A Hub area for networking and conversation will be established at the rear of the Main gallery with a moveable wall to provide for expansion for events. The high wall in the middle of the gallery, built for the Rembrandt Remastered exhibition will be removed to provide better flexibility of use for the main Gallery
A development need was upgrading Depot Sound Studio 2 to provide for both Studio 1 and 2 operating concurrently. Studio 2 was built in 1997 and sound leakage into Studio 1 occurs through the hay bale walls and lack of ceiling insulation limits its use. The upgrade will provide both a better operational layout and greatly improved insulation so that both Studios can operate concurrently. This will expand the volume and range of work we can do and provide a better workflow for our engineers Dave Rhodes and Morgan Allen.