Major Sydney arts venue, Carriageworks, announced last Monday it would enter into voluntary administration due to “irreparable loss of income”.
This comes after the cancellation or postponement of big ticket events including the Sydney Writers’ Festival and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week from which Carriageworks derives three quarters of their income.
Government arts body Create NSW provides annual grants of $2.5 million to Carriageworks and it is the first major arts venue to collapse as a result of social distancing laws. With all galleries and arts spaces around NSW closed, the collapse of a major player like Carriageworks is a bad omen for smaller venues.
But what’s next for the troubled venue? As the NSW Government has rejected the idea of bailing out the venue and refuses to guarantee future funding, the future of the venue hangs in the hands of investors. And in the announcement of voluntary administration, Carriageworks said they would be “exploring all options.”
Arts philanthropists have offered $2 million to lift Carriageworks out of voluntary administration until regular programming can resume. When asked by the Sun-Herald if it would be possible to accept such an offer, Phil Quinlan from voluntary administrators KPMG said that, “it’s too early to say at the moment.”
The NSW government is also considering an offer from The Sydney Opera House to take over the venue. According to Sydney Morning Herald sources, the push for the venue to be passed over to the Opera House Trust was already ongoing before voluntary administrators were called. But, Carriageworks tenants are lobbying for the venue to retain its independence.
KPMG administrators will hold their first meeting with creditors to determine the fate of Carriageworks on May 14.
By Allison Hore