BY CHRISTOPHER HARRIS
TAP Gallery in Darlinghurst has landed on its feet again, although it won’t be staying still for long.
After its owner Lesley Dimmick was given just three weeks to vacate the previous premises, she managed to secure an alternate space just one block away on Palmer and Burton Streets.
Now located next to Phamish Vietnamese restaurant, she hopes to regain the space’s lapsed liquor license and operate an art bar in this new smaller space.
Although equipment and artworks had to be thrown out in the exhausting move, Ms Dimmick said it was a good chance to declutter the 27-year-old gallery.
“It is a relief to get out of the building because it was a huge job, we had to clear out that space which we’d been in for 23 years,” she said. “We all got sick from the dust and overworked, cleaning it out everyday non stop, and it was just amazing to achieve that and get out of there.”
“We had to throw equipment out, and art work, and perfectly good items like refrigerators. We spent $5000 on six loads to the tip,” she said.
“We had to get out, and I didn’t have time to sell it on eBay.”
The TAP Gallery was established 27 years ago and has been functioning as a community arts centre.
Last year, it was advised by the City of Sydney that it had failed in its fire safety compliance.
The gallery spent $10,000 on the first stage of building alterations to meet the fire code, but halfway through work being carried out, the city notified her that the gallery’s DA did not allow her to operate a performance space in the building.
“Because the landlord would not do work for the fire order, because the building was for sale, we were in a tight spot.”
“If you look up the meaning of community arts centre online, you’ll see that it’s a visual and performing arts centre for the community,” she told City Hub at the time.
She had to engage a planning lawyer in order to prove that the TAP Gallery was a non-profit organisation which operated a community arts centre.
But then the building was sold by the owner, and the race was on to find a new space.
As she and her small team were still setting up in the new location, Ms Dimmick said it would be business as usual as soon as possible.
“We’re going to have an exhibition as soon as we’ve got liquor license, we have thought our way around the situation, we will invite all our regular artists for a group exhibition.
The current location is only temporary, as she hopes to take advantage of a City of Sydney Council program that may allow the gallery to occupy a council owned building.
“It is a little small, but we’re turning it into an art gallery bar, we can’t do all our functions that we normally do, but it is just temporary until we find somewhere bigger.”
On Monday night she attended a council seminar where she discovered that there would be a council owned creative space on Foley Lane near Oxford Street that would become available in 2016.
“We are intending to apply for accommodation there,” Ms Dimmick said.