Arts vision still alive

By Sonia Isaacs

DESPITE a ‘gentleman’s agreement’, plans to purchase a local venue near Maleny Lane have fallen through, however local arts co-ordinator Steve McLeish is as determined as ever to create a community arts precinct in the heart of Maleny.

While understandably disappointed the venture which was part of a ‘Maleny arts hub’ vision was not proceeding despite months of negotiations and a committed collaboration with the owner of Grounded Café, Mr McLeish said the experience had ultimately reiterated how grateful he was for the existing Maleny Lane and FrontUp creative communities.

Plans to host a special ‘take down the wall’ event at the FrontUp Chalkboard in Maleny Lane on January 16 has now been  reframed as a ‘grateful for what we have’ party instead.

He said it was to be a night of entertainment and shared joy that acknowledged all that had been built up and achieved at Maleny Lane over the last few years.

“After learning our deal would not eventuate earlier this month, I moved through the emotional depths and realised that what we have already with the FrontUp community and Maleny Lane was so special it was worth celebrating,” Mr McLeish said.

Regardless of the setback, Mr McLeish said the experience had strengthened his resolve to continue to seek a local opportunity to establish a dedicated arts incubator facility in the town.

“I would love to see an arts centre in a central position here in Maleny,” he said.

“Somewhere for youth and arts to be nurtured creatively, and for artists to upskill and gather.”

He said he had a long-held community-involved vision for the creation of a multi-purpose hub that supported a performance and training space with arts workshop facilities, studios and rehearsal spaces, a cafe/bar restaurant, arthouse cinema and arts market.

Moving forward, he was hopeful that the Maleny community could unite and seek opportunities.

He said this may be possible through the formation of a not-for-profit group to enable fundraising and the ability to obtain grant and philanthropic support while also navigating a design process.

“I would like Maleny to be known for the arts, and as an arts village. I hope as a community we can build a purpose-built arts facility as an arts education, performance, and community hub,”
Mr McLeish said.

Main image: Steve McLeish, Sue Palmer, and David Lamond (Photo: Marsha Fotografie)