Ryoji Ikeda's test pattern [no.5] on display at Carriageworks in 2013. Carriageworks / CC BY-SA

Carriageworks, Australia’s Largest Contemporary Arts Center Enters Administration Amid COVD-19

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SYDNEY, NSW (CelebrityAccess) — The Board of Directors for Carriageworks, the largest contemporary arts center in Australia, announced that the organization has voluntarily entered administration due to the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a statement from the board, the loss of revenue from six months of events, including the Sydney Writers’ Festival, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, and the design event Semi Permanent, was too great a financial burden for the organization.

In early April, Carriageworks furloughed much of their staff and put the rest on limited time, focusing only on essential activities, but that cost saving measure proved to be insufficient.

“Since opening in 2007, Carriageworks has enjoyed the support of both the NSW and Federal Governments, and the generosity of its many partners and donors. During this time it has become a Sydney institution attracting one million visitors a year to the site in Redfern and up to 5000 people every Saturday to the Carriageworks Farmers Market. But with restrictions on social gatherings likely to remain in place for some time to come, the Board determined that it had no alternative but to place the company into Voluntary Administration,” Carriageworks said in a statement.

KPMG’s Phil Quinlan and Morgan Kelly have been appointed as Voluntary Administrators of Carriageworks Limited.

“We will be working closely with the Carriageworks executive and its stakeholders to try and secure the future of Australia’s largest multi-arts precinct,” Quinlan said.

“We will be exploring the possibility of a Deed of Company Arrangement to stabilize Carriageworks’ financial position and allow it to continue its important role for Australian arts and culture. All options are on the table for consideration” Quinlan said.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Company, possible rescue plans that have been floated for the Carriagehouse include a takeover by the Sydney Opera House and a potential bailout by a group of philanthropists.

“The Carriageworks Board regret that this action has had to be taken. They are mindful of the impact of this situation upon independent artists and partner companies across the performing and visual arts at a time when the effects of COVID-19 related closures have made this sector so vulnerable. The Board remain hopeful that the Carriageworks facility will be able re-open to artists and community alike once NSW emerges from the effects of the current pandemic,” Mr French said.

Originally constructed as a railroad maintenance facility between 1880 and 1890, the Carriageworks was repurpose into a contemporary arts center in 2007 and expanded to 54,000 sq feet of floor space in 2013.

Since it opened, the Carriageworks has welcomed more than 1 million visitors with performances ranging from dance and contemporary theater, to chamber opera.

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