The Louis Joel Arts & Community Centre has been in hibernation mode over the last 5 summers during which it closes its operations. Instead of leaving the venue and facilities unused, someone or a group of persons has a great idea! From 18 December 2010 to 22 January 2011, it will be opened from Thursday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The foyer will serve as a Visitor Information Centre with the Art Gallery transformed into a shop selling art and craft to visitors. A disability toilet and restroom will be available. Visitors will be able to obtain tour brochures and pamphlets on Altona and the Hobsons Bay area - these include a A4-sized flyer on my Altona Blog and Hobsons Bay Community Forum as well as listing places of attractions in Altona!
This Visitor Centre has been in operation for over a week and yesterday Sat 1 Jan 2011 saw the largest number of visitors - about 90 persons. Most visitors are local residents but there are also visitors from the eastern side of Melbourne and international tourists as well. A local newspapers has agreed to a coverage of this initiative so I believe there will be more visitors with more promotion and awareness.
About 30 persons have their art works on display and sale at the shop. They are either professional artists or are affiliated with the Centre. They pay a rental of $10 for the entire period, regardless of the amount of their exhibits as well as a 10% commission of their sales to the Centre. This initiative offers a valuable and affordable opportunity for artists in the area to exhibit and sell their works.
Here, I will mention a few artists who had participated in this initiative. Yarraville artist Julie Ughetti is renowned for her range of unique glass art jewellery pieces branded as Moretti, in which she creatively combines dichroic glass with other glass sourced from around the globe. Dichroic glass is glass containing multiple micro-layers of metal oxides. These metal elements are fused with other glass to create a highly dynamic interplay between vibrant colours and the reflection and transmission of light. Her jewellery is sold locally and exported to London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Japan and Venice.
Suzie Erickson from Williamstown is exhibiting her dangling knit dolls. She did a lot of crochet designs for Spotlight and had designed for magazines, including the IDEA magazine.
Sue Manski from Footscray is exhibiting her leather art works, including wristbands, bookmarks and little handbags.
Helenmary Burnside is a jeweller with specialty in semi-precious stones (shown in left photo below). She previously lived in Altona but has now moved to Bacchus Marsh.
Karin Zeller is an artist from Altona Meadows and is a member of the Hobsons Bay Art Society. She is exhibiting her acrylic paintings of cats (shown in right photo above).
Other paintings include those from the late Joan Craggs from Altona, who was instrumental in founding the Hobsons Bay Art Society. Her specialty is in watercolour paintings. Stefan Gevers is a professional exhibiting artist based in Newport. He is a teacher of Botanic Art as well as a teacher of bird and insect studies. His student, Janet Howie from Williamstown, is exhibiting her water colour paintings.
This initiative is an experimental project. Its continual implementation in the future is contingent on the demand, response and feedback.