Watson Arts Centre is one of 10 local arts centres and facilities in Canberra that have shared in more than $700,000 worth of upgrades from the ACT Government’s Fast Track program to create local jobs and support the arts community.
Canberra Potters Society CEO Richard Thomas said that things as little as getting an upgraded toilet with a baby change table have engendered huge gratitude from the community and the staff.
“Having lived in a house with a ‘70s bathroom, it was nice to come to work to a newer one,” Mr Thomas laughed.
“The upgrades that we put in place is a wonderful boon for our organisation, and really kept us busy during that time of closure”.
The Watson Arts Centre benefitted from $145,000 in upgrades, which included a new heating and cooling system for the ceramic workshop space, a new foyer ceiling and insulation, fresh paint, bathroom refurbishments, accessibility upgrades, landscaping, new stairs, the removal of hazardous materials and new LED light fittings.
Other Canberra arts centres have received several upgrades undertaken to help improve accessibility, create more inviting studio spaces, remove hazardous materials, preserve heritage features, and improve the energy efficiency of facilities as part of the program.
Minister for the Arts, Tara Cheyne, said the Fast Track program not only enabled local businesses to stay afloat, but it provided critical maintenance and upgrade works at the ACT’s vitally important local arts centres.
Seven local businesses were employed by the ACT Government to deliver projects to the arts centres, which included bathroom upgrades at Ainslie Arts Centre, Megalo Print Studio and Strathnairn Homestead.
Mr Thomas said the upgrades at Watson Arts Centre have been a welcome boost during what has been a challenging time.
“As we have grown so have our operational needs and we’re delighted to receive the recent upgrades to our facility,” he said.
“The improvements see us ready to continue our gallery and retail activities and support our members, artists and students in a comfortable and inviting environment.”