This is a sad post to write, for many reasons. One of the last bastions for independant art in the Melbourne CBD, Blender Studios, is closing its doors and moving to new digs down in Docklands. For fifteen years, their space at Franklin st supported hundreds of artists from all mediums and materials in their journeys, and now is the time to say a final seeya to the current incarnation with a massive art and market blowout this Wednesday night.
“After fifteen years on Franklin Street, The Blender Studios will be relocating. While bigger and better adventures and challenges await us at our new location, we couldn’t depart our old building without a good old-fashioned send off.
The Blender Biennale will be one of the biggest, most immersive exhibitions we have ever hosted. The entire studio building will be empty and each studio cubicle will offer an unprecedented experience into the depths of each artist’s practice.
Both gallery spaces will also be utilised as well as areas that were previously off-limits to visitors such as storage areas, the stockroom and the second hidden upstairs level.
The Blender Lane Artist markets will operate in the laneway and the exhibition will see you through the night and into the public holiday the following day.
Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate the incredible 15 years we have had, and to reflect on the importance these studios have had to an endless number of artists as well as the wider Australian Arts Scene as a whole.”
Significantly, this final showing and markets also marks the almost-ending of something that has been a part of Melbournes fabric since its very inception almost 182 years ago – of independant artists studios in the actual CBD. Besides the Kings Street ARI, Blender was one of the last – and pretty soon, if Kings (hopefully not) also goes the way of attrocious and unfair rent increases (I’m looking at you, owners of 110 Franklin Street – fuck you) and redevelopment of fancy shit at the price of culture, there wont be a single independant art studio left in the CBD. That 182 years of history of artists actually working in the CBD? Gone. But hey, you have your H&M and brand spanking new Victoria Markets on the way, right?
The only good thing about this is that Doyle and Pia will be launching a new Blender studio down in Docklands – and heres hoping that they inject a bit of artistic life into that stale sack of real estate, just like they did for the past fifteen years down on Franklin street.
So, anyways, it’s the big good bye. If you have ever visted Blender, if you’ve ever heard of it, if you’ve ever, like me, taken it for granted that it’d always be there, then head on down to this on Wednesday night.
See you there – its going to be fucking awesome.
Who: All the blender artists and then some
What: Blender Biennale and Franklin St closing party
Where: 110 Franklin Street, Melbourne
When: Wednesday 25th January 2017, from 6pm til 11pm