Purpose of the building
The purpose of the Sheffield Arts Centre is to showcase Sheffield as an Arts Destination and attract more visitors to the area. Sheffield is known as the “Town of Murals” and this building houses three organisations that play to the town’s strengths.
One of these is Kentish ACT, the organisation that manages and runs the International Mural Fest. Another is Sheffield Inc, the organisation that maintains the plethora of Murals in Sheffield and surrounds.
The third group is Working Art Space Sheffield, a volunteer organisation that operates an Art Gallery, the Pioneer Gallery within this building. This gallery showcases the wide range of artworks created by local artists. They also operate a second gallery the Albert Gallery that serves as a space for Art Workshops.
History of the Building
At a meeting of Kentish Council on the 25th November 2017 it was resolved the former Senior Citizen building at 6 Pioneer Crescent Sheffield, be used for the economic development and promotion of the Kentish area.
Subsequently, Council formed a working group with representatives from Kentish Arts Commerce and Tourism (Kentish ACT), Sheffield Inc and Working Art Space Sheffield (WASS) to discuss possible future uses for the Kentish Senior Citizens building. It was decided to use the building as a centre for arts and the Sheffield Art Centre (SAC) was founded.
The Sheffield Arts Centre Special Committee of Council was set up to coordinate the primary and secondary use of the SAC for the enjoyment and benefit of residents, businesses and visitors.
Council appointed 6ty°Architecture Surveying Engineering to work with the Special Committee to develop a concept masterplan to redesign the building into a facility that will meet the current and future needs of the SAC user groups.
Public consultation was invited on the Sheffield Arts Centre Concept Master Plan from 29 June 2019 to 29 July 2019. This report was presented at the 1 October 2019 Council meeting where Council decided to accept the recommendations made by the Special Committee, direct the Special Committee to create a business plan, and have the Master Plan made “shovel ready” in anticipation of grant or stimulus funding.
Also under investigation was the potential for future promotion of the municipality at the Sheffield Visitor Information Centre. With the Working Art Space relocating to the Sheffield Art Centre the vacant gallery space could be redeveloped to include display panels, expanded retail area, designated booking area/brochure space and a Tasting Zone showcasing local food and beverage products.
With the downturn to the economy due to COVID-19 the Tasmania Government has released a $150 million stimulus package for local government infrastructure, presenting an opportunity to fund the construction/redevelopment of the Sheffield Art Centre and Sheffield Visitor Information Centre via a three-year interest free loan.
Council resolved to take advantage of this opportunity and seek funding through the Local Government Loans Scheme to implement the redevelopments.
Redesign the Old Senior Citizens building into a facility that will meet the current and future needs of user groups of the Sheffield Arts Centre
Works began on the Sheffield Arts Centre Redevelopment on Wednesday, 11 November 2020. Works included the refurbishment of the building and upgrading of the carpark and surrounds. While these works were underway the Sheffield Visitor Information Centre Carpark were closed.
In the meantime, work began on refurbishment of the Sheffield Visitor Information Centre. During this reconstruction the SVIC Staff will operate from Council’s premises in Sheffield.
Works on the building itself were completed towards the end of June 2021 with the resurfacing of the carpark being completed over the next few weeks hindered by wet weather.
Formal hand-over of the building occurred on the 20th September whereupon volunteers from Working Art Space Sheffield began setting up the new Pioneer Gallery in the facility and moving their artworks from the old gallery to its new home.
On the 24th September SVIC moved their operations into a temporary space in the Foyer of the Sheffield Arts Centre from which they will operate whilst their building is being renovated. They began operating out of this on area on the 25th September.
WASS’s artists then mounted new works that had been created for the opening exhibition to be entitled “Winter into Spring” The new Pioneer Gallery opened its doors to the public on the 1st October 2021 with a formal opening to be announced later in the year.
The original Senior Citizens Centre
The Sheffield Arts Centre