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Local arts groups to run The Barracks at Willow Court in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley

Local arts groups to run The Barracks at Willow Court in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley
January 20, 2021

Following more than two years of negotiations, Derwent Valley Council have signed an agreement with Salamanca Arts Centre (SAC), that will allow SAC and Derwent Valley Arts (DVA), to utilise the The Barracks building in the Willow Court precinct in the south eastern Tasmanian town of New Norfolk.

The agreement is expected to enable the commencement of an on-going community arts and cultural events program and develop a strong ongoing arts presence in the area, helping continue activation of the Willow Court precinct.

Commenting on the arrangement, Derwent Valley Mayor, Ben Shaw stated “Derwent Valley Council is committed to supporting the growth of arts and culture in the region. We have a growing population from the arts community moving to and visiting the Valley and this is a step in the right direction for continued growth.

“Willow Court is one of the oldest precints in Tasmania. It’s been 20 years since Willow Court closed and Council has long been looking at ways to move it forward. The agreement with Salamanca Arts is a great rebirth for this site and brings them on board with The Agrarian Kitchen and New Norfolk Distillery as our other long-term lessees to help drive visitation to the precinct and set it up for a new life.”

Advising that he is thrilled that the agreement will enable SAC and DVA to begin developing a community arts program in the historic Barracks buildings, Salamanca Arts Centre Chief Executive, Joe Bugden stated “in October 2018 I was contacted by Nathan Males from Derwent Valley Arts, to discuss the idea of a partnership between Salamanca Arts Centre and DVA to work with Derwent Valley Council to see how, together, we could utilise the empty buildings at Willow Court.

“The process is a reminder that achieving a vision takes time. But it is also a reminder that things do change over time. Salamanca Arts Centre’s beginning, in certain ways, resembles that of The Barracks, and now SAC has been operating for more than four decades.

“One of the things that has motivated me throughout the last two years has been to imagine what The Barracks at Willow Court will be once it is re-born through the stories, the art, the theatre and music of those individuals and groups who will now be able to be part of the Barracks’ new future. My hope is that young people now living in the Derwent Valley area, will grow up having many positive experiences of the Barracks, that come about from what participation in art and cultural activities can offer.”

The first exhibition to be born out of the partnership will be a visual arts exhibition which is targeted to open in February. Derwent Valley Arts will be programming the exhibition which will feature works by local artists.

Image: Derwent Valley Council and Salamanca Arts Centre representatives at Willow Court.

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