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Living Laneways boost arts & culture in Singleton

Singleton is painting the first strokes in a cultural revolution with new spaces for creative arts

Singleton is putting arts and culture up in lights – sometimes literally – in the first steps towards making the local government area the Hunter’s centre of creativity.

A vision, strategic objectives and actions to deliver “appropriate places and spaces that celebrate Singleton’s creative life and identity” have been put into motion following Singleton Council’s adoption of its Arts and Culture Strategy in October 2020, which will underpin operations for a new arts and culture centre.

Funded in partnership between Singleton Council and a $2.787million Create NSW grant, the $4.08 million building – to be located in iconic Townhead Park adjoining the Visitor Information Centre on the New England Highway – is slated for completion in July 2021.

Vicki Brereton, Council’s Director Organisation and Community Capacity, said there was considerable community input into developing the design for the building.

“The arts and culture centre will transform this important location off the Hunter Expressway and New England Highway into a hub for visitors, the arts and culture, and recreation and leisure,” she said.

“The final design includes more than 200m2 of state-of-the-art gallery space, two artists’ studios including a wet space and digital space, work room and storage.

“The building will connect to the existing Visitor Information Centre via an entrance court that will also be a space for sculptural artworks and a place for people to meet.”

Ms Brereton said with tenders for construction to be considered at Council’s November meeting, building works on the site would be underway early in the new year.

But Singleton isn’t waiting to start sculpting its cultural revolution.

Five laneways in the Singleton town centre are being targeted as creative canvases under a $500,000 NSW Government Streets as Shared Spaces grant, with an abundance of ideas from interactive displays with shadows and thought boxes, to video projection and sound devices.

“The Living Laneways Project is the first program in the lead up to the launch of the Arts and Culture Centre, and a great opportunity to experiment with public space and public art as well as promote greater engagement within the town centre,” Ms Brereton said.

“Tre Bella Lane and Bourkes Arcade are the first laneways on our list, to be activated by the end of the year.

“The University of Newcastle School of Creative Industries is working with us on the design, which proposes a series of cutting-edge, digital interfaces that the community can participate in.

“We are looking at movement sensor music activation and ‘shadowgrams’ to generate conversation and contribute to the dialogue about the future of Singleton.

“The designs will also incorporate lighting, planting, and street furniture to ensure a complete physical transformation of each space.”

To keep up to date with information about the arts and culture centre and the Living Laneways Project, click HERE.

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Singleton Council's Arts and Culture Specialist Christopher Saunders at the site of the new arts and culture centre for Singleton

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