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Striking design unveiled for Centre of Contemporary Arts Cairns

Striking design unveiled for Centre of Contemporary Arts Cairns
December 27, 2018

A vibrant digital facade showcasing work by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in Far North Queensland will be the centrepiece of a refurbished Centre of Contemporary Arts (CoCA) Cairns.

Queensland Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch said the revitalised CoCA would be a striking feature of the Cairns CBD, enhancing its appeal as a cultural tourism drawcard while opening up new performance and creative opportunities to artists.

Minister Enoch stated “I’m delighted to release the plans for the CoCA, providing the first glimpse of how this fantastic arts and cultural destination will look when it reopens next year.

“The Centre will have a vibrant and welcoming new look, along with updated facilities to strengthen the local arts sector and help boost cultural tourism offerings for visitors.

“The designs reflect the Indigenous performing arts focus of the centre and have been developed through consultation with stakeholders, including the local arts community and Traditional Owners, to ensure we reflect community needs and make the most of this exciting redevelopment opportunity.”

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the Queensland Government had committed $5 million to the upgrade after the project scope was expanded in response to extensive feedback on initial concept plans.

Healy stated “the upgrade to CoCA will provide more rehearsal, development and office space, along with improved theatre facilities.

“The design features an extended all-weather awning connecting the footpath and foyer along the front of the building, an arrivals and gathering space with yarning circle, a streetfront retail outlet for local artists, and a redesigned cafe with outdoor dining.

“The vision is for CoCA to become a destination that champions the development and presentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contemporary arts in Queensland, supports cultural tourism in the region by providing rich arts experiences for audiences, and provides a home for local arts companies.”

Ashleigh Campbell, Director, KickArts Contemporary Arts said it was an exciting time for the organisation, adding "the new tropical architecture and design of COCA will bring our KickArts Shop and cultural offerings to the street while also linking us with Cairns’ newest cultural precinct, CPAC.

“Our Board and staff are very much looking forward to sharing and growing the next chapter of this valued 27 year old institution alongside the careers of our member artists.

“We are currently building an exciting program of exhibitions, programs and experiences for the coming years within the new-look gallery, studio and retail spaces and look forward to welcoming our members, artists and audiences home.”

Suellen Maunder, Artistic Director/Chief Executive, JUTE Theatre Company said JUTE was proud of what the Centre had achieved.

“JUTE Theatre company and KickArts were integrally involved in transforming the former Department of Transport offices into a multi-dimensional contemporary Arts Centre. We shared a vibrant and sustainable vision that is being realised once again through this latest, exciting refurbishment,” Maunder said.

“JUTE acknowledges Minister Enoch and the State Government’s strong commitment to this region and together we look forward to inspiring the community well into the future."

The upgrade is a key part of Arts Queensland’s four-year $17.5 million Arts Infrastructure Investment Fund to revitalise state-owned assets to generate cultural and economic outcomes.

Minister Enoch concluded "we thank the community for their patience while construction is under way and look forward to unveiling the revitalised CoCA in 2019.”

For more information on the CoCA Cairns refurbishment go to

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