THE ARTISTS SHED STORY
In 2004 the original Artists Shed was born within a large industrial building in the back blocks of Queanbeyan NSW. It was the working studios for Dennis Mortimer and Margaret Hadfield, as well as a unique gallery space. Art supplies and art classes were available and other artists joined the Artists Shed community. Mal Motum (the Colonel) proved a strong supporter of the ‘shed’. A new exhibition highlighted each month, from the infamous ‘Shed Nudes’ to a Japanese arts project supported by the Queanbeyan Council. Tim Keeble made an indelible mark on the fabric of the ‘shed’ by bringing talented musicians and bands to perform. The Artists Shed building at 14 Foster Street, was sold and Artists Shed Inc., became a non-profit organisation. Regretfully Tim died suddenly, and the arts/music community continue to mourn his loss.
A diminished interest by Australians in original artwork meant it was increasingly difficult for artists to profit from their creative talents and The Artists Shed dissolved. Dennis Mortimer continued to paint, and Margaret Hadfield set up her own gallery first in Curtin and then Phillip, aided by several major commissions. She, and historian and author, Dr Kathryn Spurling, intent on rescuing and upcycling older and neglected art, formed Artistic Vision Gallery.
In March 2019 the Terzi family offered a large commercial space in Fyshwick for the Artists Shed to be reborn. Working on a typically minimalist art budget Margaret proved resourceful and creative. With a great deal of hard work and Dennis’s help, gallery walls were created using discarded doors. In June the Artists Shed was officially opened, by arts reporter Helen Musa — a ‘regular’ of the original Shed and the incorporated body.
The idea of a coffee ‘shop’ was brewing, and Frank Bresnik, loving the feel of the space, joined the team. His ‘Bohemian Coffee and Wine bar’ provided the perfect convivial addition.
The Artists Shed continues through supportive friends and a strong community spirit. There is pride in being able to continue in a beleaguered art community, but the goal is not only to add to the cultural texture of the Canberra region and to prove profitable to our talented artists, but to enhance our appreciation and joy of art.