Multisensory art exhibition at new $5.5m school arts precinct a first

The centre will specifically provide a basis for students to launch or explore arts careers.

Firbank Grammar School has unveiled its cutting-edge new $5.5 million arts precinct, which it says aims to promote young women’s participation in the arts.

Bright Nights – a multisensory art and light show extravaganza open to the public – launched in May.

Principal Jenny Williams said the concept was central to ‘Making Space for Culture’, one of many ideas outlined in the school’s vision and extended strategic plan.

“Creating specialist learning spaces equivalent to the best red-brick and Ivy League universities is essential,” she said.

“The transformation of older, traditional learning spaces and new expectations from educators and parents in the post-pandemic world have driven us to focus on all aspects of STEAM (science, mathematics, engineering, arts and technology).

“It is required for well-rounded educational offerings with additional elements enhancing cultural life and well-being.

“The new precinct is a breath of fresh air and bright light in the arts community that has suffered greatly during the economic crisis of the pandemic and received no additional government budget funding.”

Jenny said this situation threatened the viability of live music venues, small theatres, galleries and rehearsal spaces, and the affordability of studios, workshops and warehouses.

“But we want Melbourne and Firbank Grammar School to be known for its world-class cultural offerings – a city that dares to lead in curiosity and experimentation and invests in big ideas and new talent,” she said.

“The centre will specifically provide a basis for students to launch or explore arts careers and backed by the school’s business studies offerings, makes the pursuit of the arts a career a viable future for all to benefit from.

“Protecting and creating cultural infrastructure such as this historic building will take innovative partnerships and financing models developed by the school, advancing such spaces to a new level.

“We need to ensure that culture is recognised as an integral component of education.

“Firbank Grammar School values artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, and designers, and we stand ready to ensure they can live and work here, now and into the future.”

Firbank Grammar School’s original hall (1909), named after Melbourne architect Louis Williams who redesigned the hall in 1918 and 1922, has been transformed into a significant cultural and creative arts precinct.

It’s dedicated to all forms of creativity, including performance, dance, digital and studio arts, with the latest technology installed.

The building fund donors, MPs, mayors, councillors, art aficionados, education experts and other VIPs opened the three-level, 1555 m2 building on 27 May.

The exhibition featured curated artists’ works from significant Victorian female artists – past and present – student work and specialist pieces loaned to the school for the event from private collections.

These works include those of Moya Dyring, Lynn Miller, Seven Sisters, and other Archibald nominees and valuable modern art from the collections of prominent Firbank Grammar School community members.

This exhibition was the first for an Australian Senior School.

Anyone interested in applying for the Co-Ed Junior School at Sandringham, the Girls Junior school in Brighton or the Girls Senior School in Brighton, including via scholarship, should contact the school’s admissions team on 95915188, or via www.firbank.vic.edu.au or admissions@firbank.vic.edu.au.