The New England Regional Art Museum welcomes the proposal from the Armidale Regional Council to consult with the community about developing a multi-purpose performing arts centre as part of the Kentucky Street precinct and to develop a masterplan for the entire site.
“The whole Newling-Moran Reserve from Dangar Street to Taylor Street is a well-used and much loved public space which should be upgraded as an arts, environment and fitness precinct,” said Andrew Murray, Chair of NERAM. “Co-locating the proposed Performing Arts Centre here would be a welcome addition to the precinct which would lead to increased synergies across Armidale’s dynamic arts community and would create new opportunities to attract tourists to our region, especially the lucrative conference market.”
“A masterplan for this site is well overdue,” he said. “ The precinct on Kentucky Street is home to the region’s most significant cultural and tourism destinations – New England Regional Art Museum and the Armidale & Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place – and yet it doesn’t even have a footpath on the street linking these two facilities and nowhere for tourists and ‘grey nomads’ to park their RVs and caravans off the street,” he said.
“As well as looking at options for a performing arts centre the masterplan needs to look at the overall site which needs improved infrastructure in order to address issues such as accessibility, safety, carparking and wayfinding for visitors and local residents, which could all be addressed and a strategy put in place for seeking funding from the state and commonwealth governments to redevelop the area as a beautiful recreational gateway to Armidale.”
“NERAM would like to see a masterplanning process that brings together the resident organisations (including UNE, NERAM and ACCKP) and other stakeholders with the Council and Crown Lands to address these issues, to look at short and long term solutions for this site and a plan of action to make this area a thriving community resource.”
The historic Newling-Moran Reserve is based around the original playing fields of the Armidale Teacher’s College which included football ovals, tennis courts, basketball and cricket grounds. It is named after C.B. Newling the first Principal of the Armidale Teacher’s College and Michael Moran, the Head of the College’s Department of Physical Education in the 1940s and 50s. It includes the outdoor stage used by theatre and music students at the Teacher’s College which is now the site for the popular annual Black Gully Festival.