Kingston Fitters’ Workshop safe for artists

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The Fitters’ Workshop.

IN A week of fake news that seemed to engender more heat than light, members of Canberra’s classical music community have been hearing that ArtsACT plans to turn the Kingston Fitters’ Workshop into offices.

But this story, doing the round of the many classical concerts being held in the lead-up to Easter, has been comprehensively denied by an officer from ArtsACT.

“There are no plans to turn the Fitters’ Workshop into offices… The Fitters’ Workshop is a heritage-listed building located in the centre of the soon-to-be developed Kingston Arts Precinct,” the officer told us.

She added that all existing buildings within the precinct would remain, including the Fitters’ Workshop, the Former Transport Depot, Powerhouse and 1948 Switch Room (the Chapel).

What’s more, she explained, the Fitters’ Workshop would continue to be available to the arts community for events, and hirers would benefit from improved access and facilities like accessible public toilets, proximity to secure car parking and use of adjoining landscaped public space, following upgrades to the former Transport Depot and the Kingston Arts Precinct.

Arts readers will recall that back in 2012, ACT Liberals and Greens MLAs voted together to reject the ACT government’s planned refurbishment of the workshop for use by Megalo Print Studio.

That vote came in the wake of intense agitation from members of the music community, who had discovered the building’s acoustic potential, heard in concerts held there by the Canberra International Music Festival.

The result of the ensuing unattractive spat between members of the visual arts and music community was the allocation of the space to mixed use, including by the music festival, as described above.

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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