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Named after Judith Wright, the celebrated Australian poet and campaigner, the Judith Wright Arts Centre (formerly Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts) opened in October 2001 as Australia’s first truly integrated art space.

In earlier times the buildings that formed this now-vibrant Fortitude Valley venue were tea and biscuit factories, and the building design still reflects an industrial edge.

An initiative of the Queensland Government and operated by Arts Queensland, with initial renovations designed by Cox Rayner Architects, the venue was conceived as a home for local arts companies and developed to house facilities such as a 300-seat performance space, modern art gallery, a screening room, purpose-built administration and storage amenities, workshops, and music, dance and circus rehearsal spaces.

To bring the project to fruition, the Queensland Government formed a unique partnership with seven founding arts organisations Elision Contemporary Music Ensemble, Expressions Dance Company, Circa: Rock 'n' Roll Circus Ensemble, Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Performing Arts, the Institute of Modern Art, The Arterial Group and the Brisbane branch of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

Judith Wright was the author of several collections of poetry and talked of her writing as a form of love that comes to you as an impulse. So it is for many tenants and artists creating arts experiences.

The Judith Wright Arts Centre thrives through the community of exceptional people that work and create within its walls.

It remains a creative hub to a number of arts companies including the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts, AusDance Queensland, Australasian Dance Collective, BlakDance, Circa, Creative Partnerships Australia, Flying Arts Alliance, Institute of Modern Art (IMA), Musica Viva, Outer Space and The Little Red Company.

The latest additions include a new corner gallery space, which opened in June 2019, and a new facade for night projections - both spaces showcase the work of Queensland artists.

JWAC has evolved to become a home for exciting visual arts programming and for the development and presentation of original and innovative contemporary performance works, including cabaret, circus, dance, music, spoken word and multi-disciplinary arts.

Supporting Queensland artists is a key part of the centre's history and it continues to nurture the creative energies of local artists and arts companies.