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Liberals and Greens join forces in the war upon the print makers

By johnboy - 27 October 2011 32

Minister for the Arts, Joy Burchis seething after the Liberals and Greens joined forces in the Assembly to stymie the long planned handover of the Kingston Fitters’ Workshop to Megalo Print Studio.

Ms Burch said it was appalling the Greens and Liberals colluded today to suspend work indefinitely on the Fitters? Workshop for Megalo to move in, as the move had now put the organisation?s future in jeopardy.

“The Government has spoken to Megalo staff today and they are devastated by what the Liberals and Greens have done,” Ms Burch said.

“Their 2012 program, which they had prepared in good faith, is now in tatters because of the political opportunism of the Greens and Liberals. It is clear the only ones looking out for Megalo in this debate is the ACT Government.”

Ms Burch said Megalo Chief Executive Alison Alder had written to Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur and leader Meredith Hunter imploring the Greens not to support Mrs Dunne?s motion, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. Ms Alder wrote yesterday to the Greens saying:

“I am extremely distressed to discover that Mrs Dunne is putting forward a motion in [today’s] Assembly which has the potential to delay the Governments decision regarding the relocation of Megalo to the Fitters Workshop in mid 2012.

“You may not be aware that Megalo programs its activities 18 months in advance. In fact we are soon to go through the selection process for our 2012 international, national and local residency program. If the process of relocation is delayed it will put our programming into disarray, causing loss of income, reputation and instability. These comments also apply to our education and gallery programs.”

Ms Burch said the Greens and Liberals were not being honest with the community by hiding their true motivations behind demands for more “consultation?.

“It is clear that what the Greens and Liberals really want is for the Government to reverse its decision at the expense of Megalo’s future. The Government will now consider its options to ensure that Megalo’s urgent accommodation needs are addressed.”

UPDATE: The Greens’ Caroline Le Couteur is explaining her actions:

The former Chief Minister promised Megalo, an outstanding Canberra community printing organisation, that they could move into the Fitters’ Workshop. Unfortunately this was promised without adequate public or arts community consultation.

“We are seeking to determine the best use of a special Canberra building, for all the Canberra Community,” said Ms Le Couteur, ACT Greens arts spokesperson.

“My amendment ensures that the inquiry thoroughly examines the acoustic qualities of the building and community demand for it.

“The Government has failed to fully evaluate the value of the Fitters’ Workshop to choral and other classical music groups, which has left a huge question hanging. We have now been forced to rectify these shortcomings to ensure that this heritage listed community asset is best utilised.

“Megalo plays an important role in the Canberra visual arts sector and the Greens think that they will be a good fit for the Kingston Arts Precinct. It is unfortunate that they find themselves stuck in the middle of this situation created by the Government’s lack of due process.

“The Government have admitted they failed to consider the acoustic value of the building when it was discovered, and that they instead preferred to plough ahead with their plans.

“The Greens believe that the best use of the site should be examined first, and then the Government should decide who should use it, not the other way around. The committee inquiry is the only way for this to be achieved now, as the Government have refused to do it through normal consultation processes.

“The proposed work on the Fitters’ Workshop has not yet been approved by the planning authority and we do not believe that the Assembly inquiry will delay any outcome for the site. The committee is expected to report in March 2012.

“My amendment also asked that the Government guarantee ongoing Megalo accommodation, no matter what the outcome of the inquiry,” Ms Le Couteur said.

What’s Your opinion?


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32 Responses to
Liberals and Greens join forces in the war upon the print makers
Dymphna 10:58 am 28 Oct 11

Classified said :

All I heard was

“Nah nah nah
I love the Labor party
Nah nah nah”

I’m not just a printmaker nor am I a Labor voter, and you’ll find that most of the printmakers voted Green in the last election. I bet they won’t now! In fact Megalo’s Artist Director husband stood for the Greens in a regional community very recently. I remember there was a fund raiser for it. And as for the comment about Printmakers being aggressive, it is the choral choir who have been abusive, not the printmakers. The printmakers are a mix of artists and musicians and are very friendly with real practicing musicians, some of whom have come out in public support of Megalo.

poetix 10:54 am 28 Oct 11

Classified said :

All I heard was

“Nah nah nah
I love the Labor party
Nah nah nah”

perhaps you need better acoustics.

Classified 10:09 am 28 Oct 11

All I heard was

“Nah nah nah
I love the Labor party
Nah nah nah”

poetix 10:05 am 28 Oct 11

The selfishness of the music lobby behind this is hard to believe. I attended the Canberra International Music Festival last year, and saw the beginnings of the political campaign to preserve the Fitters Workshop for music, under the rubric of ‘all arts’. (Translation into the real world; keep the building empty and waiting for a concert, as it is impossible for operate an organisation such as a print-works on a roll-in, roll-out basis.)

I also heard very dismissive comments from some fellow attendees about ‘print-making’, as if it were one step up from garbage collection on the artistic scale. The Fitters Workshop, next to the Glassworks and near to the Gallery, is an ideal location for Megalo. The excellent light and easy access are as important to their work as the allegedly magical acoustics are to the making of music. The Fitters Workshop will also provide the organisation with a space to sell their work to the public on a consistent basis. Although that might be seen as vulgar, of course, as it is actually making money.

I hope that Megalo, with its excellent community outreach and high standards of artistic practice, is able to recover from this blow. This type of turf war is sickening, especially when politicians are so gullible.

Thumper 9:53 am 28 Oct 11

Dymphna said :

wow, I think this just goes to show that if you vote for the Greens in the ACT you’ll end up with Liberal party values…. and empty venues! beware the voter in the next election, particularly if you are looking for a strong arts policy because you won’t find one with the Greens or Libs. They just look after the interests of their families and friends by the looks.

What a strange post.

Jim Jones 9:33 am 28 Oct 11

Printmakers are aggro jerks. Who woulda thunk it?

Dymphna 9:31 am 28 Oct 11

wow, I think this just goes to show that if you vote for the Greens in the ACT you’ll end up with Liberal party values…. and empty venues! beware the voter in the next election, particularly if you are looking for a strong arts policy because you won’t find one with the Greens or Libs. They just look after the interests of their families and friends by the looks.

FreeRange 9:15 am 28 Oct 11

I-filed said :

This is EXCELLENT news. All Megalo needs is a big space and good light. Printmaking is industrial. Any big windows will give good light. Acoustics are an entirely different story.
Excellent acoustics are INCREDIBLY difficult to create or reproduce – witness the Sydney Opera House, that has struggled for four decades to produce good sound in the concert hall.
Fitter’s Workshop should be shared by musicians and a function that can clear out the space for concerts . The tiny gallery at Manuka (CCAS) could expand and move there. Or the space can be dedicated to music activities.

Well done Liberals and Greens, for bringing about this reprieve. I’d love to know what palsy walsy business brought about this unilateral Stanhope decision in the first place.

Dear I filed
Just by saying that the ‘tiny Manuka Gallery’ would want to move there shows your complete lack of knowledge concerning the visual arts in Canberra, its functions, audience and needs. This gallery has a long history in Canberra – formally known as the ‘Bitumen river’ and is now run by Canberra Contemporary Arts Space, CCAS which is located in Gorman house. Yes CCAS is also being consulted on the viability of the Kingston foreshore, but as a major organisation it would not want the Fitters workshop, or want to share a space with anyone. How could they? they have back to back exhibitions through out the year, and so does the Manuka space. PERHAPS YOU SHOULD GET YOUR FACT RIGHT before you become yet another mouth yarding off a whole bunch of crap.

FreeRange 9:02 am 28 Oct 11

CANBERRAN’s WAIT AND WATCH WHILE AN ICONIC BUILDING IS LEFT EMPTY DAY AFTER DAY, YEAR AFTER YEAR WHILE GREENS AND LIBERALS PREVARICATE FOR POLITICAL GAIN – MOTIVATED BY THE PRESSURE OF ONE SMALL LOBBY GROUP.
Have any of you who enjoyed the concerts actually been to one lately at the Fitters workshop? If not, that is because the musicians and performers who agitated for this motion only want the space for 3 or 4 nights per year. Who will stop it from being turned into a leather coast and rug sale venue which is what the performance people of Canberra have left the iconic Albert Hall to become? Why is it that many musicians don’t agree with the claim that it has perfect acoustics? Come on guys, Vicki Dunne couldn’t even get the name of the Glassworks right and then turned around to thank the musicians in the audience of the legislative assembly who she is colluding with. This is not fair and true politics. Caroline LeCouteur’s sister is on the board of the song company. GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT AND LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE FOR ONCE. No wonder Canberra has such a bad reputation for change, nothing happens because stuck up elitism from upper-middle class over educated public servants such as the music lobby group. Its not like the greens have come up with any good or innovative ideas for the Kingston Foreshore arts precinct. LeCouteur probably wants an underground car park thats how green she is.

Deref 7:37 am 28 Oct 11

I-filed said :

This is EXCELLENT news. All Megalo needs is a big space and good light. Printmaking is industrial. Any big windows will give good light. Acoustics are an entirely different story.
Excellent acoustics are INCREDIBLY difficult to create or reproduce – witness the Sydney Opera House, that has struggled for four decades to produce good sound in the concert hall.
Fitter’s Workshop should be shared by musicians and a function that can clear out the space for concerts . The tiny gallery at Manuka (CCAS) could expand and move there. Or the space can be dedicated to music activities.

Well done Liberals and Greens, for bringing about this reprieve. I’d love to know what palsy walsy business brought about this unilateral Stanhope decision in the first place.

That.

+1

Crazed_Loner 10:51 pm 27 Oct 11

How ironic that Stanhope championed public art, accusing opponents (appropriately) of philistinism, then proposed the vandalistic destruction of a wonderful music venue. I’ve attended but one concert at the Fitters’ Workshop and it was immediately apparent that it was a fabulous concert space, and very much appreciated by the performers.

No-one is saying that Megalo shouldn’t have an appropriate space, but this is not that space. All power to the Greens and Liberals for preventing an act of cultural vandalism. Let’s hope they can kill the proposal for good.

I-filed 5:38 pm 27 Oct 11

This is EXCELLENT news. All Megalo needs is a big space and good light. Printmaking is industrial. Any big windows will give good light. Acoustics are an entirely different story.
Excellent acoustics are INCREDIBLY difficult to create or reproduce – witness the Sydney Opera House, that has struggled for four decades to produce good sound in the concert hall.
Fitter’s Workshop should be shared by musicians and a function that can clear out the space for concerts . The tiny gallery at Manuka (CCAS) could expand and move there. Or the space can be dedicated to music activities.

Well done Liberals and Greens, for bringing about this reprieve. I’d love to know what palsy walsy business brought about this unilateral Stanhope decision in the first place.

El_Mariachi 3:36 pm 27 Oct 11

Joyless is at it again. She’s painted herself into a corner and now she’s complaining that people would rather make an informed decision on the Fitter’s workshop rather than accept ALP pontification. Democracy can sting when other people want better from Government than you.

Grail 2:21 pm 27 Oct 11

You’d think they’d at least link to the motion of interest to keep the public informed.

Actually, scratch that. “Plot”, “colluded”, “hiding their true motives” — this is a Labor fear mongering campaign using Megalo as a prop, not an attempt to actually get something done.

Carry on.

Grail 2:12 pm 27 Oct 11

Broken link/markup!

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