Page 833 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 March 2005

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come to amaze me, as we have started to engage in dialogue with so many groups, how many organisations there are in Canberra, how many active groups of people in our community are participating in some area of the arts.

I know a number of members here receive invitations to events. When you go out and explore how many groups there are, it is quite staggering. It is a great credit to the ACT and the people of Canberra that they embrace the arts so vigorously. We hear of Melbourne being called the arts capital of Australia, but I think that if you applied some of the statistics Canberra could well uptake that claim.

In particular, I had the opportunity to formally visit the Tuggeranong Arts Centre, although I had been there previously for an exhibition called Malta 24/7, which was a fantastic photographic exhibition. The centre supports a vibrant range of community and professional arts activities. As most members may be aware, it was opened in 1998 and is the only purpose-built multidisciplinary arts centre in the ACT. The centre is home to a small gallery, a 110-seat theatre, a small dance studio—which has had incredible support from young people in that area—a group art studio, three individual studios, a small gallery and a very successful cafe that attracts many patrons from that area over the weekend.

The centre has also developed a strong community cultural development focus and supports a range of multicultural, indigenous and disadvantaged arts activities. Its messenger program, on which I was briefed, is doing a great deal for young people in Canberra who are potentially at risk. The staff are to be commended for the work they are doing there. They are also forging links with the diplomatic community, who are starting to use their facilities and moving away from the traditional locations in the centre of Canberra. The centre is particularly proud of its dynamic youth programs and the role that these programs have played in developing the skills, outlook and cultural awareness of young people in Canberra, particularly in the Tuggeranong region and even beyond.

The second organisation that was visited last week was Megalo Access Arts, located on Phillip Avenue in Watson. This is an open-access printmaking organisation that provides artists, students and the general community with access to specialised printmaking facilities. It conducts a program of activities that include access to equipment and expertise, artist in residency opportunities and commissioned printing and other services. Indeed, the exhibition running at Megalo during my visit was work resulting from its 2004 printmaker in residence program. It was entitled Structure, and the artist was Joanne Robinson. She examined the personal experiences of her own home and reinterpreted this into structures of buildings and textures by creating two-dimensional structures through digital processes and print.

The final visit was to the ANU School of Art, which is in the faculty of arts. The School of Art is under the leadership of Professor David Williams at ANU. I would commend to members that they take time in their lives to visit the extraordinary facilities there and the work going on. I had no idea of the dimension of what was being done in the School of Art in Canberra. I had an opportunity to go through all the different areas—ceramics, glass, goldsmithing and silversmithing, painting, photo media, print media and drawing, sculpture, textiles and wood and art theory. To see so many young people from Canberra working on those skills, and sometimes engaging in some of the

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