New arts centre hailed

The brand new Rockingham Arts Centre opened its doors to the public for the first time on Saturday, to an overwhelmingly positive response from the city’s writers and artists.

A group of 35 writers, from Rockingham and further afield, praised the “ambiance” of the new Kent Street venue, after taking part in Canberra-based author Kaaron Warren’s Through Splintered Walls workshop.

Warnbro-based writer Ruth Fryer said the venue contributed to creating an image of Rockingham as a vibrant city.

“I’ve lived here over 20 years and have watched as Rockingham has become a city that we can all be proud of,” she said.

“The new arts centre creates a wonderful ambiance at the foreshore and contributes to creating an arts scene to rival that of Fremantle or Mandurah.”

Fellow Rockingham writer Calum McKenzie was impressed with the new centre, which offers different rooms and facilities for artistic activities from writing and painting, to pottery and sculpture.

Maggie Celenza said the arts centre was “exactly what Rockingham needs” and thanked the City of Rockingham for responding to the needs of the artistic community.

The workshop coincided with a community art project of the same name, which resulted in a selection of creative paper creations going on display at the centre’s gallery.

Works of art were created from copies of Warren’s book, which had been printed erroneously.

The award-winning author said seeing her book turned into “amazing” works of art was the “highlight” of her career. City co-ordinator of cultural development and the arts Lee Battersby the Kent Street centre was established to respond to the needs of the community. “We hope that, down the line, we will have a self-driven artistic community who will guide and support one another,” he said.