Its Canberra’s worst kept secret but this is the first time you have it from the horse’s mouth: after 32 years at Ainslie + Gorman Arts Centres (A+GAC) the time has come for Canberra Contemporary Art Space (CCAS) to move on. Our departure will invigorate and strengthen both organisations making way for exciting new initiatives and creating futures in which we can achieve our respective visions. CCAS has come a long way since its first iteration as The Bitumen River Gallery (1981) at the site occupied by CCAS Manuka today. Moving to the Arts Council Gallery (Gorman House) in 1987 there was much excitement as CCAS, at the centre of Canberra’s legendary supportive arts community, had begun the long process of growing up, of becoming an arts organisation that could compete with its peers and mount an inclusive program that represents the ideas of a creative Nation. The support of the A+GAC has been invaluable in reaching this point and our decision to depart was not taken lightly, being the consequence of a series of discussions that imagined how the future might look for CCAS and for contemporary visual arts in Canberra. As we say au revoir we also say thank you to GAC for accommodating our eccentricities and supporting our exhibitions and programming over such a long period of time.
A very big thank you is due to Joseph Falsone Director and Mark van Veen (Chair) Ainslie+ Gorman Art Centres who have been avid supporters of CCAS for many years and who have generously facilitated the move.
As CCAS embarks on a grand adventure that will ultimately end at the Kingston Arts Precinct, we’ll take a brief stopover at East Space, on the shores Lake Burley Griffin. Formerly occupied by The National Portrait Gallery, The Gallery of Art and Design and The National Gallery of Australia, East Space is located in the National Triangle, conveniently at the symbolic heart of the Nation surrounded by national institutions representing the arts, sciences, education, justice and of course government. Central to Walter Burley Griffins vision CCAS’s new outlook is across the water and straight up Anzac Parade to the Australian War Memorial. While it’s not all about the “location” this will be the first time that ACT contemporary artists have had a permanent presence in the Triangle. East Space engages both local audiences and increasing numbers of tourists who are attracted to this area by its natural beauty as well as the structures created as part of the designed city. There will be opportunities for collaborations and cross-promotions with the nearby National Institutions and to program around lakeside events such as Enlighten, Floriade, Contour 556 and Design Canberra. While the impact of recent cuts to funding for small to medium has hit home, CCAS’s move reflects a dynamic organisation enthusiastically adapting to the changes and challenges of the future. Naturally we want only the best of our artists and members and East Space is but the first step along the way.
Once settled in to the new digs our first exhibition will be Blaze Fourteeen CCAS’s annual showcase of emerging arts practice in the ACT. Curators, Alexander Boynes and Dan Toua are working on it as we write and the spectacular line-up includes Romany Fairall, Belle Palmer, Harijs Piekalns, Ellen Sleeman-Taylor and Rachel Theodorakis. Stay tuned for opening dates and for more information on our exciting program for 2020.
Please don’t forget that moving can be a huge drain on the finances so any donations to assist CCAS slide gracefully into its next glorious era will be greatly appreciated and are of course tax deductible.
Thank you to all who have supported us at GAC over so many years. We wish all of you the best for the festive season and we will see you in 2020.
Staff: David Broker (Director), Alexander Boynes (Program Manager) and Dan Toua (Gallery Admin)
CCAS Board: Justine van Mourik (Chair), Ian Whyte (Treasurer), Amanda Biggs (Secretary), Tina Baum, Karina Harris, Paul Magee, Adam Peppinck.
And for the record here are a but a few of the many highlights of CCAS’s illustrious tenancy at Gorman House/Ainslie and Gorman Art Centre including some of the legends who made it all possible over the years. Anyone with information about the dates and people in the photos please let us know and details will be included. Photos from the CCAS Archive so sorry if we don’t have names of photographers and punters. Names highlighted with (CCAS) are the people who have worked here at some point that we have pictures of.