About the Precinct Plan

In 2019, we undertook a precinct planning process with the support and collaboration of Maribyrnong City Council and Creative Victoria to investigate how our aging cultural infrastructure could continue to meet demand from artists, audiences and community. This resulted in a Precinct Plan by consultation firm, Parallel Practice – a comprehensive paper identifying key demographic shifts in the West, and how our infrastructure needs to respond.

The Journey So Far

In 2020, we secured further support to develop a business case to further investigate the viability of the most urgent recommendations from the Precinct Plan. Investment logic mapping with leading infrastructure advisory practice, Ontoit, in collaboration with Council identified an outdoor venue/ arts pavilion, gallery expansion and improved outdoor amenity as the most urgent and impactful recommendations to progress.

Over 2020 and 2021, we’ve been busy actioning more modest Precinct Plan recommendations including an upgrade of the Basement Theatre, refurbishment of Henderson House artist studios, improved wayfinding, and restoration of iconic Marks I mural by acclaimed Wiradjuri artist Brook Andrew. Council have been a key partner in delivering these minor works.

In 2022, we secured $8.7 million of investment from the Victorian State Government to invest in Stage 1 of the project. We will work with our partners at Maribyrnong City Council, Creative Victoria and our local community to deliver on new outdoor infrastructure upgrades and a master plan to inform the future of the precinct.

In April 2023, Footscray Community Arts announced the appointment of RP Infrastructure as Project Director to deliver the transformation of our Precinct Plan and outdoor spaces. 

Bringing the necessary expertise to drive the whole project, RP Infrastructure were selected following a highly competitive select tender process from leading project directors across Victoria experienced in the arts. 

With construction works anticipated to take place in 2025 – RP Infrastructure will be responsible for the direction and coordination of the design, procurement, and construction processes as well as superintendency.  

The Need

We know that Footscray’s population will grow by 179% and Maribyrnong’s by 101% in the next 25 years. We are already experiencing record demand for our precinct and services, and are dedicated to ensuring our communities have access to high-quality, vibrant and culturally safe community spaces.

The strains on the precinct can only be remedied by investment:

  • Poor disability access and limited connectivity across the site limit our ability to deliver inclusive, high-quality outcomes.
  • Year-round activation on the site is not possible. There are no covered spaces large enough to accommodate medium-large events, and no consideration of sound treatment to consider the impact of events on neighbours.
  • Prohibitive costs and operational inefficiencies are barriers to activation for Footscray Community Arts, local community groups and commercial operators.
  • Our existing venues are at capacity, limiting programming, community and commercial opportunities. The strain on the precinct is compounded by a lack of other creative space in the West.

The Impact

Benefits of investing in the Footscray Community Arts precinct include:

  • Improved and fit-for-purpose creative infrastructure contributes to the social, health, creative and economic wellbeing of the municipality.
  • Maximised use of our nationally recognised brand and current operational funding from all levels of government, including expansion of operational funding from Creative Victoria.
  • Leveraging of our in-house expertise and proven skill in operating a creative precinct, with a 50-year strong legacy.
  • Connection with our loyal and growing audience base; creates capacity to serve proven unmet community and audience demand in a rapidly changing West.
  • Ongoing safety and access issues associated with current infrastructure resolved.

The recommended actions in the plan involve modest capex investment, yielding major cultural, community and economic return. A conservative independent economic appraisal conducted in 2020/21 supported funding for the proposed works, and that this project will make the community and Victorian taxpayers better off.

Let’s Talk

Please contact Reception@footscrayarts.com to arrange a conversation with Daniel Santangeli, Artistic Director and Co-CEO.

Image: Precinct Plan Concept Image by ARM Architecture.