How a community residency is fuelling artistic diversity

More than 30 independent artists from underrepresented backgrounds have been propelling their practices in a tumultuous year thanks to the Footscray Community Arts Centre's RESIDENCE program.

Situated in the fast-evolving arts community of Melbourne’s West, Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC) launched the RESIDENCE program early this year in its renovated Henderson House – offering free artist studios alongside tailored development support in a difficult year for creative professionals. 

RESIDENCE project lead and FCAC Industry Development Coordinator Asha Bee Abraham told ArtsHub: ‘I think having access to affordable spaces is the biggest challenge for artists in the western suburbs. Footscray offers so much in terms of culture and inspiration [but] gentrification is a challenge that pushes artists further out.’

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Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. She took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs and was the project manager of ArtsHub’s diverse writers initiative, Amplify Collective. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne.