It is interesting that whenever something ‘new’ comes along we are quick to make comparisons. Its hard not to. We also readily interpret the new as yet another ‘overnight success’. I’ve read several articles drawing various comparisons between the new Moonah Arts Centre (MAC) and other artspaces and organisations about the place, and that’s OK, but I kind of like the expression, ‘it is what it is’, because in my experience that is so often the case. The new MAC is definitely one of those places that is what it is.
So what is it?
MAC is Moonah’s Old New Artspace. Its been around the block once or twice and has established itself as a part of the northern suburbs on a number of levels. Why? Because it is a council run space that has evolved with the people for the people for well over 20 years. Old MAC’s space goes back even further, a gift to the community by the then EZ company in the 1920s, one of two halls in fact, the twin being demolished in the 1960s. The remaining building was for some years the local library, a fact that wouldn’t be lost on MAC’s first Arts & Cultural Development Officer.
The new MAC is certainly new, in fact it is state of the art in every way. It is a purpose built artspace, something surprisingly rare in the artworld today. But before I make any comparisons, before I claim that it is a premium space among Hobart’s many and varied artspaces, let’s look again at what it is. It still is a council run space that will continue to evolve with the people and for the people, because that’s what MAC does. The new building itself is no mere architectural wonderspace, it is the result of many months of community consultation. The architects have listened and responded well.
MAC is not an art institution in the traditional sense. It doesn’t collect, conserve and research in an institutional manner. But it will continue to bring local product to local audiences across a multi-arts platform, it will continue to offer affordable workshops for local people to develop their creativity, and it will continue to be a melting pot for the diverse people of the city. For it is the social fabric and cultural tapestry of the City of Glenorchy that is to be valued above any building or institution. Yet, in the case of the new MAC, it is wonderful to witness a building and organisation that is so decidedly dedicated to the people of this city.
Congratulations to all the people that made this happen.