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Sydney’s Carriageworks set to reopen after donors offer multimillion-dollar lifeline

Sydney cultural precinct Carriageworks has a new lease on life after being pulled out of voluntary administration by some high profile, heavy pocketed philanthropists, pouring millions of dollars to get the arts hub back up and running.

This is the wholesome conclusion to the devastation that swept through the arts community in May, when it was announced that the historical and cultural venue would be shutting their doors, ahead of projected losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

carriageworks sydney

The Sydney arts scene can breathe a sigh of relief after it was announced that Carriageworks would reopen following a multimillion-dollar philanthropic lifeline.

In April, Happy reported ScoMo’s announcement of the $27 million stimulus package, supposedly a safeguard for venues and artists during the pandemic. However, in reality, the package fell nowhere near the necessary amount needed for the industry to survive.

The following month, when the abrupt closure of Carriageworks saw more than six months of events and activities canned in compliance with lock-down orders, its owners said the move would mean an “irreparable loss of income,” with the venue owing over $2m to more than 140 creditors. Still, there was no sign of government support.

After the announcement, multiple philanthropists stepped in to commit over $2 million towards what was deemed a “new, independent Carriageworks”. Among the list of donors was Kerr Neilson, Geoff Ainsworth, and his partner Johanna Featherstone. At the time, Neilson said the contribution would be available to the space, “once the lease is renewed and the operation is reorganised”.

In a statement issued last Friday, Arts Minister Don Harwin thanked the 15 philanthropists who had contributed to ensuring the future of the arts hub, including aforementioned donors as well as Michael Gonski and The Packer Family Foundation.

“We are delighted with this outcome,” Harwin commented. “At the heart of it, we are excited for the resident companies of Carriageworks who will also greatly benefit from this announcement.”

The exact date of reopening is yet to be announced. Keep your eyes out for any updates via the official Carriageworks website.

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July 13, 2020