|b a c k g r o u n d|
in the heart of the city in the vital studio and arts precinct of Flinders
Lane, Grey Area Art Space Inc. was an artist run intiative promoting a unique
environment of studios and a shopfront gallery.
Managed by a committee of Melbourne based artists, Grey Area aimed to present an engaging and affordable project space for contemporary visual, sound and performing artists, writers and curators.
Established in 1996, Grey Area developed out of the desire for recent graduates to create an expanded forum for their practice. The original members were eager to sustain the energy and support generated throughout art school when they set up the second floor studios and soon after acquired a vacant shop in the somewhat quirky Port Phillip Arcade.
During the first six months Shop 16 was allocated to the work of studio artists/members and a regular exhibition program through a fortnightly rotation was launched. The shows which were both challenging and diverse were primarily site specific and experimental in nature, creating an exciting foundation for what was to be an incredibly successful two and a half years. From the beginning of 97 the program evolved to accomodate projects from first time exhibitors, artists in the early stages of their careers, more established artists and curated shows.
Grey Area quickly developed into a highly regarded contemporary art space run by artists for artists. It attracted overwhelming support and acknowledgment as it actively contributed to what was an extremely positive scene of artist run spaces dominating Melbourne at the time. Locally the well established Platform in the Flinders Street Station underpass was joined by projects such as Talk Artists' Initiative on the corner of Flinders Lane in the Nicholas Building and City Lights in Centre Place (all still in operation). A flurry of activity erupted as young designerware, bars and eateries contributed to providing the inner arcades with a contemporary facelift.
Grey Area was generously supported by small grants from the City of Melbourne, Australia Council and The Myer Foundation and Vicnet provided internet space for the development of program promotion and archiving. The success of the fundraising exhibition artflogg further assisted the program to early 99 when the exhibition all out of gum and accompanying commemorative poster coincided with the closure of Grey Area. (Shop 16 and the second floor studios have since been taken under the wing of new management by TCB. All enquiries can be directed to the Grey Area address).
We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who has participated and supported us: the window shoppers, daily commuters, the arcade staff, John, Phil & an undeniable cast of thousands...