We believe the Arts Centre can be at the centre of rebuilding the cultural heart of Christchurch and Canterbury. To do so, we need to define what this new incarnation of the Arts Centre is going to be. And we need to think about how it will complement and support other culture, arts and education activities in Christchurch.
We have been consulting with stakeholders and a wide range of experts on how we can shape the Arts Centre of the future. They have helped us create a draft vision for the Arts Centre. The vision is designed to assist us in planning the best uses of the buildings and spaces we have within the site. But we also want your help in shaping our vision**The Arts Centre vision is our opportunity to recast the future of the Arts Centre. And ensure its relevance for generations to come. Underlying and informing our vision is the Arts Centre Trust Deed. The Trust Deed established the Arts Centre to provide a centre for the arts, culture and education. The vision will also reflect a very wide range of interests. These include: the immense heritage value of the buildings, the likely costs of restoration, potential end uses, as well as the vital role the Arts Centre has in the lives of Canterbury people. There is also the need for the Arts Centre to be financially sustainable something that the pre-earthquake Arts Centre was not.The Arts Centre will be a place for our community. Its success as a local centre for creative enterprise will ensure its appeal to local and international visitors.Why do we need a vision?Our vision is the starting point of a process of constructive change. The change is two-fold:1. Were progressively working towards making the site safe and accessible to the public again. 2. The Arts Centre is taking a leadership role in the recovery effort of Christchurch through engagement with the arts and culture, and education community. The process is one of evolution and innovation to ensure we remain relevant as an organisation.This development of the vision is also a collaborative process that represents the views of former tenants and visitors as well as new voices in the Christchurch arts and culture sector. By consulting as widely as possible, we are reinforcing to the community and stakeholders that the reactivation of the site has begun.*Our vision for the futureOur vision for the future of the Arts Centre is to create a hub of creative entrepreneurs in the heart of Christchurch that is undeniably 21st Century: capacity building, content-rich and digitally enabledThe Arts Centres strategic direction is represented by the four pillars of the vision. These will guide our transformation into the future:
Supporting pathways as well as practice
Focusing on creative industries
Creating high quality content and interfaces
Designing our hard and soft infrastructureOur approachOur programming approach illustrates the relationship between the anchor uses, the complementary uses and the public spaces at the Arts Centre. This approach highlights how users can interact with the Arts Centre at various levels from retail and hospitality, to arts and design.We will promote the Arts Centre primarily through the use of Market Square, supported by our information centre, shop, and Ideas Den.
We will encourage engagement through the Art House Cinema and exhibition space, as well as boutique accommodation, hospitality venues, and a members area.
We will facilitate interaction with the site through studio space, performance space and a co-working hub, and secondly by hiring out spaces.
We will educate through childrens activities, the Arts Centre Academy, and education and outreach. This will be supported by leadership retreats.*
Future conceptsA key foundation of the Arts Centre will be the clustering of complementary activities.The Food Hub is centred on Market Square and is planned to improve the quality of the on-site food and beverage offerings.The Content Hub is about the Arts Centre excelling at the art of hosting and presenting. The Host Space is centred on the exhibition and hire spaces, and designed to create a rich visitor experience.The Work Hub is about visible production at the Arts Centre. Its focus is access to workshop space, rehearsal space, co-working spaces and equipment for practitioners and students, as well as public visibility to these spaces.The Retail Hub focuses on boutique shopping experiences that have a direct relationship with arts, culture and education.Connectivity to and from the site, with good transport links and accessible paths of travel, will enable easy movement throughout the site. We will retain the names of the buildings as they are currently known to establish the link with their past. Building fit outs will be restored as high quality, flexible spaces that will be fitted out by tenants
*Anchor UsesAnchor Uses contribute to the promotion and development of the arts, culture and education in Christchurch and Canterbury the original objectives of the Arts Centre, set out in our Trust Deed. Creative Industries Co-Working HubThis would be a hub for arts, creative industries and business, with informal spaces, open collaboration spaces, leasable office spaces, and shared facilities.Dedicated Studio SpacesDedicated studios could operate as affordable, open access spaces to encourage artistic endeavours. Arts Centre AcademyAn independent training academy, this would enable artists to teach and train, as well as produce work in their own right.Exhibition SpacesExhibition spaces would be used to showcase works produced at the Arts Centre, as well as those that benefit the wider public.Public SpacesPublic spaces could be used for informal working, temporary public art, and movable furniture, with access to power and free wi-fi.Market SquareA regular themed market at Market Square could be held focusing on local artisan production.Education and Outreach CentreThe education programmes could focus on innovation and design thinking, such as coding, graphic design, digital arts and other contemporary media.Childrens ActivitiesThese would include child-friendly arts, craft and creative thinking.Art House CinemaThe art house cinema would support New Zealand arts and production, as well as international film festivals.Performance SpaceThis would be a dedicated performance space for festivals and productions.
*Complementary UsesComplementary uses support activities that will be accessible to a diverse range of people, and would be financially viable in their own right.Christchurch Information CentreThis would combine information about the Arts Centre and Christchurch, with the ability to access digital platforms and make bookings.Hire SpacesSelected spaces, such as the Great Hall, could be available for private events, such as weddings, music performances, and conferences.Leadership and Education RetreatsSelected spaces could be used to run leadership development programmes, with links to international training and creative industries. Hospitality VenuesHospitality venues, such as restaurants and cafs, attract visitors to the site and provide an informal meeting place. Boutique AccommodationBoutique accommodation directly supports other uses at the Arts Centre, such as hire spaces and artists in residence.The Ideas Den BookstoreThis would create a unique visitor experience, with the opportunity to host book launches and promote new written works.The Arts Centre ShopThe Arts Centre shop would be an attraction for visitors to the area, showcasing local products, and would also be accessible online.The Members AreaThe Members area would be an exclusive space for those who support the Arts Centre financially or in kind, and would double as a hire space.*The vision sets out what we would like to create at the Arts Centre over time, as repair work progresses and the precinct is slowly opened back up to the public. However, there are opportunities we can take in the interim to give the Arts Centre a presence in the community.
These opportunities include potential temporary uses that can be accommodated even if the site is not fully open to the public yet. We can also create a digital presence for the Arts Centre to give people virtual access to the site and an opportunity to understand the work we are doing in the restoration programme. These opportunities also allow us to engage with a series of stakeholders in the creation of content, with a focus on the local community.
These strategies could change, be added onto and reinvented over time to enable the Arts Centre to operate in a dynamic setting.
The sorts of activities we are considering to re-engage the public in the cultural life of the Arts Centre include:
Partnerships with other Arts Precinct organisations and the creation of an Arts Centre Advisory Board
Festivals for the arts, performance, writers, thinkers and young people and children
Themed markets designed especially for locals
Digital strategies including an Arts Centre podcast series and the Arts Centre app, free Wifi and an online store
Exhibitions and open days, designed to get the public using the space again.
*We are at the start of a process of genuine engagement with our community. We have had a great deal of expert help from many people who have been involved in the Arts Centre at many levels to help shape our draft vision.Weve also had a lot of positive feedback already about the direction we are taking and our focus on the local community.Now we are talking to the people of Christchurch about the vision, and asking what they think of the ideas we are presenting, and how they would like to use the Arts Centre in the future.Our focus is firmly on our local community. We believe if we create an Arts Centre that truly reflects their desires, we can create a vibrant hub for the arts, culture and education, which will attract visitors from around the world.It is people that are the heart of the Arts Centre. Although protection of the heritage of these remarkable buildings is absolutely vital, making the Arts Centre meaningful and relevant for generations to enjoy is our core aim. So please, tell us what you think and tell your colleagues, family and friends to get involved and have their say in the future of the Arts Centre.