Keeping our creatives

From Hatch RobertsDay’s report “Making Space for Culture”.

ARTISTS are crying out for more inner city cultural spaces, with affordability being the number one barrier keeping creatives out of the CBD. 

Four central Perth councils commissioned a survey of over 1000 local creative types to find out how to make the inner city more of a cultural capital, how to make sure gentrification doesn’t force artists out of the few existing hubs, and what leads to artists leaving Perth for more cultured climes. 

The survey was sparked by the impact of Covid-19 on artists, the ongoing return of former Perth people back here, and a looming property boom that could turf out creatives if rents shoot up.

The report by Hatch RobertsDay found there’s still some creative clusters around town, including the Pickle District in West Perth, and fledgling culture spots in City West and Burswood.

But the report warns that gentrification has often forced out creatives as they make the area trendy and then prices go up so much no creative could afford it. 

Gentrification

They reckon one smart way to ride the gentrification wave is for councils to support artists setting up in under-utilised areas, then use planning laws to ensure that when developers come along there’s space kept for creatives. In return the 

“enlightened developers” will benefit from keeping creatives around since the gentrified area won’t turn into an artless and sterile locale. 

As for keeping artists in Perth, part of that will be the public’s job to put bums in seats and art on our walls. 

Prominent creatives who left Perth were interviewed for the report including Abdul Abdullah, Chris McNulty, Troy Roberts and Ted Snell. 

Key reasons for leaving included “access to greater audiences” and “access to greater markets, larger collector bases and larger collector budgets”. 

The four councils – Perth, Victoria Park, South Perth and Vincent – will now have to ponder the policy mechanisms to get it all to happen.

by DAVID BELL

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