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Ararat embraces the arts culture

FESTIVE FUN: Top, Rennie Hannan and Jack Ward enjoy the newly refurbished Ararat Town Hall. Pictures: PAUL CARRACHER

FESTIVE FUN: Top, Rennie Hannan and Jack Ward enjoy the newly refurbished Ararat Town Hall. Pictures: PAUL CARRACHER

By DEAN LAWSON
Ararat has reaffirmed its key role in the presentation and promotion of arts and entertainment in western Victoria with completion of an Ararat Arts Precinct redevelopment project.
A variety of events and performances last weekend capped off celebrations marking the occasion.
They also signalled a return of performances and exhibitions at Ararat Town Hall and Ararat Gallery after an absence of more than a year and a half during development.
Victorian Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford and Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan joined Ararat mayor Gwenda Allgood as well as other dignitaries, benefactors and supporters at Ararat Town Hall to officially open the redeveloped centre before weekend activities.

Ms Pulford made particular mention of Textile Art Museum Australia and its redeveloped home at Ararat Gallery.
She said seeing the overall $7.7-million project emerge from concept designs to ‘life’ was exciting.
“We know that the arts are so very important to regional communities. They are part of the fabric of who we are and what we’re about, what we celebrate and what we love about where we live,” she said.
“They are also an important part of the economic story as well.
“To have more reasons for people who come and visit and stay and play and enjoy beautiful wines and food is just a great compliment.
“We like this project so much we funded it twice. This is going to be such a great space for the arts community. It’s going to be incredibly valuable for building up the tourism part of the economy.”
Mr Tehan said the projects were an example of ‘true’ partnerships between government bodies and because ‘the community wanted to see change when it came to this wonderful precinct’.
He also acknowledged community passion that had driven the project.
“Everyone needs to take a bow,” he said.
“It is wonderful that we are able to put on shows and displays that are the equal of anything that can be put on in the ‘city’ and that’s really what this project is all about.”
Mayor Gwenda Allgood said the venue had been abuzz with excitement during the past fortnight as tradesmen, cleaners and council staff put finishing touches in place.

Wally Pope and the Ararat City Band at the newly refurbished Ararat Town Hall.

Wally Pope and the Ararat City Band at the newly refurbished Ararat Town Hall.

“This is a significant milestone in the history of our town,” she said.
“We are very lucky to now have this beautiful, modern, contemporary arts venue which is the result of a shared vision between the community and all levels of government.
“It has certainly been worth the wait.”
Cr Allgood said it had been all hands on deck in recent weeks as both town hall and gallery staff moved back on site and familiarised themselves with the new spaces and technology.
Cr Allgood also acknowledged the history of the iconic town hall building. The original building site was laid out in 1858 on an area called Ararat Market Square and the town hall was built 40 years later.
“We’ve been lucky enough to find the original trowel from the laying of the foundation stone for the then-new town hall 120 years ago,” Cr Allgood said.
“The great, great grandson of the mayor at the time, Cr Edward James Simpson, organised with his family to kindly send the beautiful trowel down from New South Wales to be here for the weekend.”
Cr Allgood also mentioned the town hall’s historic Steinway grand piano that had been restored as part of the redevelopment.
“The piano has called the town hall home since being purchased by the Ararat Music Circle in May 1952 for 940 pounds,” she said.
“As part of this project, it was sent away to experts to be restored to its magnificent glory and was returned just a week ago.”
The State Government provided $5.2-million, the Federal Government $945,000, Ararat council $1.49-million and the community $234,000 for the redevelopment project. The Ararat council reported a strong community response to celebration events across the weekend.

Victorian Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford, Ararat mayor Gwenda Allgood and Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan at official celebrations.

Victorian Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford, Ararat mayor Gwenda Allgood and Federal Member for Wannon Dan Tehan at official celebrations.

Ararat Town Hall.

Ararat Town Hall.

David Cosgriff playing euphonium at the newly refurbished Ararat Town Hall.

David Cosgriff playing euphonium at the newly refurbished Ararat Town Hall.

Wally Pope and David Cosgriff on euphonium at the newly refurbished Ararat Town Hall.

Wally Pope and David Cosgriff on euphonium at the newly refurbished Ararat Town Hall.

Ararat City Band conductor Wally Pope with children at the newly refurbished Ararat Town Hall.

Ararat City Band conductor Wally Pope with children at the newly refurbished Ararat Town Hall.

Regan Price at the newly refurbished Ararat Town Hall.

Regan Price at the newly refurbished Ararat Town Hall.

Karli and Duane Suffolk enjoy the newly refurbished  Ararat Town Hall with daughters Sophia, 3, and Daniella, 5.

Karli and Duane Suffolk enjoy the newly refurbished Ararat Town Hall with daughters Sophia, 3, and Daniella, 5.

The entire August 8, 2018 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

Short URL: http://www.theweeklyadvertiser.com.au/?p=64469

Posted on Aug 8 2018

Posted by on Aug 8 2018. Filed under Community, FEATURED, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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