Current Issue #488

Community is at the centre of Prospect’s new art gallery

Kay Cann

A community art space pioneer has a new location and a renewed energy for community creativity.

When it launched in 1988, Prospect Gallery was the first council-run community gallery in South Australia. In October this year the gallery relaunched in a brand-new location at Payinthi, Prospect council’s community hub on Prospect Road. Renamed the Newmarch Gallery, it has lifted the profile of the community-run space and cemented Prospect as an artistic community of the future.

Thanks to an $18 million development of the Community Hub, Library and Innovation Centre (CLIC), the gallery has gained a prime spot at the front of the building. The project began in 2015, when Prospect council was advised that the state government would not be renewing council’s long-term lease on the Thomas Street Centre in Nailsworth (which housed the library, gallery, digital hub and community programs for 40 years), due to a planned expansion of the adjacent Nailsworth Primary School.

The community and council worked with architects JPE Design Studio on the design of the new building on Prospect Road with the aim to create an innovative and activated space which provides opportunities for all members of the community to visit, collaborate, engage and learn.

The new gallery space was renamed the Newmarch Gallery in honour of local artist, Ann Newmarch, OAM, reflecting the community’s long history as a creative hub and recognising Newmarch’s contribution both visually, through the murals and Stobie poles projects, and culturally, putting Prospect on the map as a culturally significant suburb in Adelaide.

Since opening in 1988, the gallery has grown to be a recognised art space with a diverse exhibition program, reflecting its role as a contemporary public gallery with a longstanding community focus. It will continue to exhibit solo and group shows across a range of media, supporting both emerging and established artists. Edward James, the City of Prospect’s gallery and public art coordinator says: “It’s a community gallery but it has a contemporary focus – this is a difficult balance to get. How do you keep the community engaged but also be contemporary and modern? We are going to do a lot more workshops and artist talks to engage with the community in that way.” The new gallery space has more exposure and presence than the previous space that was tucked behind the library at Thomas Street. It now has a prime spot on Prospect Road and the gallery has day and night viewing.

Newmarch Gallery launched with Watch this Space, seven artists exhibiting over seven weeks, including artists such as James Dodd, Laura Wills and Daniel Connell. This project was designed to activate and test the space, to see how the audience reacted to used it. It was also an opportunity to see how artists utilised the space, as they were given free rein.

Up next is the 10th Prospect Portrait Prize which opens on Thursday 5 December and runs through until early 2020. The new space has lifted the profile of the gallery, resulting in a high calibre of artists programmed for 2020, including, Seb Humphreys, Eleanor Zecchin, and Scott Coleman (KAB101).

The new space on Prospect Road is extremely inviting and it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into the design of the space to engage with all members of the community. The inclusion of the Newmarch Gallery is important to the community and this has been recognised by the council giving it prime position at the front of the building, honouring the legacy of the art that has happened and making a commitment to the future.

“We have had a lot more people through than I have ever seen in the space,” says James. “It’s already doing a great job putting art in front of people, you can’t miss it.”

city of prospect

Jane Llewellyn

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