A + G, is the new shorthand for Ainslie + Gorman Arts Centres and if the opening of the refurbished Ainslie part of the equation is anything to go by it augurs well for our art scene and the saving of what was Ainslie Infants School.
That part I know well and have long lamented the various inhabitants of the space and the ad hoc way it was tampered with to fit their needs. It was a beautiful building and would seem to have been returned to its former glory. Those who wondered why I was feeling the walls and poking into spaces off limits don’t be alarmed it was to enjoy the return to the original matte plaster finishes and the wonderful windows that have again opened up to the light. The wall heaters were working overtime and I remembered they were just the right height to warm our little kid bums when we came in from the cold. The bubblers are spruced up, one set sparkling in LED strip lighting but drinking is verboten as it will cause “cooties”; well you will find them in To Kill a Mockingbird, but not in my school’s bubblers.
The party to open and celebrate began with a gathering in the Reception Hall where once God Save the Queen (and King for those old enough to remember the change- over) was sung by lots of littlies and now has a smart carpet, Robert Boynes brilliant paintings are on the walls, art installations are in the peek-a-boo spaces created for them while for the opening QL2 dancers were upside down, over and into all spaces.
The stage was in what Joy Burch called “the gymnasium”, not in my day but David Whitney of Arts ACT assured it was on the original plans. I knew it as the sit-down tuck shop space and now with a comprehensive refurbishment, the new and extensive overhead lighting grid and a beautiful floor it will be perfect for a range of performances.
It was just right for the official bits too, a few formalities with lots of thanks and acknowledgement for those who’ve put their heart and soul into bringing this place back to its full potential. Chief among them the incomparable Suzie Campbell as President of the board and the CEO Joseph Falzone who was as excited as a kid with a fantastic new toy. So let the artistic pursuits begin for this centre.
For the guests it was back to the partying with food stalls coutesy of The Forage outside in the quadrangle, the bar full steam ahead, some long legged paparazzi strolling the place, a photo booth to record the moment and a good feeling about the future for Ainslie + Gorman Arts Centres.