Wednesday, 17 September 2014 21:12



One of Cairns' most dynamic arts collectives has been forced to close its doors.

Arthouse, a community run arts space that supports diverse cultural development, is having to vacate its premises of over 4 years, after the property was suddenly sold.

The property's sale followed a recent zoning issue with Council, when the Arthouse group were issued with a Show Cause Notice as to 'why an Enforcement Notice should not be issued to you pursuant to Section 590 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009'.

The group are now making plans to vacate the premises after the property owner sold the property suddenly without warning and gave the group very little notice to vacate.

It's has been a huge double-blow for the group.

Arthouse producer Nicholas Mills explains, "We really weren't aware that we were in breach of any laws. The property, formally the Croatian Club, has been a cultural space for over 20 years, and we were just following the tradition that they had set on this property."

Apparently, "following receipt of a complaint........(CRC) ascertained that the use of the land as Indoor & Outdoor Entertainment (Functions & Events) is not a lawful use on the site".

Arthouse was given a month to show cause, and immediately replied to explain their situation, and to ask for 'dispensation for a period to allow us to present these final activities, and meet our commitments with our partners.'

"At the time, Arthouse was presenting its On Edge festival, and the final shows we were then allowed to present were all partnerships: the RISE project, ironically part of the Tanks Art Centre's (Council) residency program, the Australian International Animation Festival (with End Credits Film Club), and The Blak Project, an fundraising event for the indigenous writing project Eros."

Arthouse could be thought of as an R&D factory for the arts. The venue allows artists and groups to develop new work and projects, rehearse, build props and sets, write scripts, shoot video's, hold workshops and meetings. They support many community driven activities with professional support, equipment and access to space.

Arthouse co-producer Daniel 'Wally' Wallwork, who shares the space, further explains their dilemna "As you can see, Arthouse supports an amazing cross-section of the cultural community. It's taken everybody by surprise, and many people have been affected by this decision."

With the property now sold, the group are looking towards the future, hoping to build on the success of this innovative 'community enterprise'.

Mills states, "Arthouse invests in human capital, and we believe that our region's cultural capital is a critical asset that the town has yet to realise and invest in strategically."




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