Docklands needs a Guggenheim


Docklands needs a Guggenheim

So, as I sit here in my studio trying to think what to write about for this column.

I’m struck with the notion that not that much artistically is going on in Docklands. Apart from the sculpture trail and the Docklands Art Precinct at The District, there really is very little going on in Docklands artistically.

In many ways an area or a community can be measured through its creative culture. There is a strong art community developing around The District Docklands. But this is a precarious situation because, let’s face it, as the shopping centre develops and grows, the commercial endeavours will have to eventually take back the space that the artists use.

What Docklands needs is something more sustainable – a long-term arts strategy.

Take MONA for example – a vast and important collection that has changed the culture of Tasmania.

David Walsh has set up what can only be described as an international-standard private art museum. With one of the best contemporary collections in the world, MONA attracts a huge number of tourists both domestically and internationally.

It has single-handedly changed the economy of Tasmania as it has become a must-see destination.

A few years ago I went to Bilbao in Spain, a city that at one time was struggling with many of its shops empty and the economy was looking very bleak. However, Bilbao built a Guggenheim and now it has a massive and daring gallery as the centre-piece of the town.

It has changed the whole economy of the region, with more than a million people traveling to the town to visit the gallery each year.

Now, the town’s shops are full and there are people everywhere and hotels being built and it has become a world famous city.

So why doesn’t Docklands do something like this? People have spent so much time making money from Docklands that not much has been put back in for the community.

Apart from the library and The District there really isn’t much to attract people to Docklands.

What we really need is something that attracts loads of people and is sustainable. I believe there isn’t enough contemporary public galleries of importance in Melbourne.

We have one of the world’s leading artistic cities that has more artists per capita than New York or Paris. We have become the beacon for artists throughout the region, from south Asia to New Zealand, people have been moving to Melbourne to get their big break.

So why don’t we have the galleries or studio spaces to back it up?

Much of Melbourne’s creative reputation comes from the ‘90s and the early 2000s, back when Melbourne was a very different city.

Recently, the Buxton brothers opened an awesome gallery at the VCA and added another notch in the arts precinct.

I believe that Docklands has the money and the power to do something as cool at MONA and it would make Docklands awesome. And all the issues and views people seem to have would change and Docklands would become hip as.

If anyone really wants to think about how this could be done, contact me. I believe it’s achievable and important for Docklands and Melbourne. Remember anything is achievable. Anyway, have an awesome month.

Follow me on Instagram: doylesart or email me at [email protected]

Peace out punkz.

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