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Centre of Contemporary Arts revamp to showcase FNQ arts

Work on a reimagined Centre of Contemporary Arts for Cairns is progressing and the Palaszczuk Government is pleased to announce that local Cairns firm TPG Architects has been appointed to carry out the design work.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the new Centre of Contemporary Arts in Cairns (CoCA) would strengthen the arts sector and provide the opportunity to grow cultural tourism in Far North Queensland.

“CoCA, already a vital part of the Cairns arts environment, will be upgraded to help realise the region’s enormous potential to boost its unique cultural tourism offerings,” Minister Enoch said.

“The Palaszczuk Government is investing $3.5 million in CoCA as part of a four-year $17.5 million Arts Infrastructure Investment Fund to revitalise state owned assets to generate cultural and economic outcomes.”

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said local firm TPG Architects had been appointed to carry out the design work and undertake targeted local arts sector consultation on the concept plans.

“To help achieve the new-look CoCA, TPG has enlisted prominent local Indigenous visual artist Brian Robinson, who designed the athletes’ parade track at the Commonwealth Games, and contemporary Indigenous dancer and choreographer Pauline Lampton,” he said.

“These artists will help facilitate local consultation, including with Traditional Owners, to ensure the final plans make the most of this development opportunity and reflect the needs of the community.”

Mr Healy said the upgraded CoCA would open up new performance and creative opportunities to Far North Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and offer rich cultural experiences to new audiences.

“CoCA’s façade and entry will be redesigned to reflect the Indigenous performing arts focus of the centre,” he said.

“Plans for CoCA also include upgraded theatre equipment and amenities, improved green rooms and theatre access including a new foyer.”

Minister Enoch said there would also be enhanced access to gallery and retail spaces; and the opportunity to incorporate new public artworks.

“This Centre of Contemporary Arts revitalisation was a key outcome of a 2016 review and supports the Palaszczuk Government’s $2.1 million investment over two years from 2017-18 in Indigenous performing arts in Cairns and Far North Queensland communities.

“The focus for CoCA extends the vision for the Queensland Government’s long-running Backing Indigenous Arts to nurture the next generation of artists and provide a pathway to take their art to a global audience.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ stories, contemporary arts practice and unique cultural heritage, and creating economic opportunities for artists and regional communities.

“With the Palaszczuk Government also committing $15 million to the Cairns Performing Arts Centre development and supporting successful initiatives like the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF), it’s an exciting time for the arts and cultural sector in this thriving and vibrant community.”

Ms Enoch said the CoCA would close for building works in September, with an expected reopening in April 2019.  

Members of the local arts community and Traditional Owners will be able to have their say on the design of a reimagined Centre of Contemporary Arts for Cairns, with consultation starting next week.