Casula Powerhouse Art Centre

Don’t you just hate it when you’ve supported something against the multitudes that haven’t, and are proved wrong? 

This past weekend I bundled up my family and took them to see the Casula Powerhouse ‘Bicentennial “display. We walked into and through the large empty hall to find a number of locals pictures displayed in a smaller room to the left of the main entrance. Assuming this was ‘part’ of the display, we spent the next half hour or so walking through every floor looking for the ‘rest’. We’d seen the  200 Faces of Liverpool which were interesting enough, although poorly signposted, then there was a display of a circular artwork on the floor in one room again poorly sign posted and on one of the upper decks was a kid’s artwork display, similar to any small child’s classroom or day centre, sweet! In desperation I decided to ask the staff member on the desk, where it was, the Bicentennial display and why I’d missed it. OK… I didn’t…miss it that is.

With new directions, we went through some unidentified glass doors to the rest (?)…. Scary manikins depicting (?) Well your guess is as good as mine. My eight year old was so thrown we simply had to leave the room. It spooked him quite considerably… and I still don’t know what it was. I’m not knocking the displays that were there, art appeals to everyone differently but what I’m saying is they are very poorly signposted or defined; I shouldn’t however leave an art centre and not have a better idea of what is on display.

 The cafe…. is a whole other story for another time but let’s just say “if we are going to do something let’s do it right!!!! “

We walked up to the viewing platform above the clay house and the highlight was a 1.8klm freight train that I knew was rattling and clanging past the poor residents of Casula, so an eight year olds delight was their nightmare.

After having numerous discussions with my husband who agrees with the need for theatre and a fine art centre in Liverpool, his only comment was ‘pull it down and sell the land’. The tanks look dreadful, although some of the individual work is quite good, the overall look of them is sad.

I still believe in the value of our Art centre, so rather than just whinge about the Powerhouse here is my suggestion:  Let’s offer a week or two free (or even a month) featuring one Australian Artist ‘individually’ to display their art in the Great Hall, provide a red carpet walk through to the theatre and encourage people/locals to drop by (and perhaps even purchase some art work) and see how it goes.  I am not an artist but I know of artists who display around the world who would relish the opportunity to reach a new market. The empty hall is so uninviting; simply displaying a featured artist’s work at their cost…. to bring it in etc could be just the trick to liven up the place. We can feature them in the local paper along with our  regular installations – but the brunt of the cost for displaying the work would fall on the artist/promoter, e.g. if they need easels etc  I’m confident something could be worked out, but seriously it is just sad  to enter this amazing structure and find ‘nothing’ there. When the surf board display was there last year, you could meander around the different items and be enchanted by their beauty or complexity but a big empty hall…   Another idea, be a little clearer when signposting a  display… surely we could do better than an index card sized tag beside the artwork, whilst this is fine for individual pieces a reasonable sign depicting the overall theme could be on a freestanding display board at the entrance to the individual room or display.

IN for a penny I decided to ‘drag’ my family through the Regional Museum, I’ve been through there numerous times and always delight in the history that is Liverpool.  It doesn’t disappoint, although no one was at the desk when we arrived I think a gold coin donation could be encouraged (but not insisted), we wandered about the rooms, the display itself intrigues and has always delighted.

 In a submission I put into council last year for the budget… I suggested a Tourist information office be placed here as well… I truly believe this is the best location for a tourist information office and it in turn could be used to bring more and more people through the Regional Museum, the installation of a coffee shop or cafe outlet with the Tourist info could make this underutilised Liverpool attraction a real winner.

So, I’ve had my say, or whinge and I’d really like to hear your opinion. Am I wrong? Should we be doing more to encourage people to visit these attractions? I do believe the Powerhouse is an amazing asset, earlier this year when art centres/ theatres  around the entire city of Sydney were doing fabulous displays and contributing to the annual big day out/month of festivities; our Art Centre didn’t score a Guernsey … nothing…nada…  it’s time we took this seriously and told our Council we want more.

Again… feel free to comment…and rest assured I’m happy to pass on your comments if you choose. If no one else is going to make a noise about our assets… I will, I want it right, I want them vibrant and I think the majority of you do also. It’s not just my city it’s yours and your opinions matter.

I look forward to hearing from you…


5 Responses to Casula Powerhouse Art Centre

  1. Colleen says:

    Nice article.

    Did you realise that the permanent exhibitions at the museum are being pulled down. This action is proceeding without community engagement or consultation

    • Signe says:

      Hi Colleen I checked out some of the displays at the CPAC on saturday, seems there are new displays being installed… there should also be some good news on the funding according to the minutes for tonights council meeting, if approved of course… fingers crossed. Regards Signe

  2. Signe says:

    No I wasn’t aware, I’m due to be there on Saturday and will check it out, I’m also submitting a comment to the councils’ draft management plan this week suggesting they leave the funding in place rather than strip away another $500,000 as proposed by Councillor Lucas and supported by the Liberal Independents… suggest if interested you could do the same.

  3. Colleen says:

    Have you done a comparative analysis of funding with other like Art Galleries? What is your position on Council funding for the museum?

    • Signe says:

      I’ve not done any costing comparisons with other galleries and I am presently looking at the Draft Management Plan for LCC, my expertise is limited, although I feel it essential that the community has this type of facility and that as soon as possible it becomes a viable asset. I am not for pulling the $500,000 away from the CPAC and like other community facilities if it is possible for them to be self sufficient that would be desirable but not at the cost of the facility itself.

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