Bricks & Mortar: Colour Box Studio

By Diane Leyman Colour Box Studio is a new multifunctional art space located in Footscray. Studio director Amie Batalibasi launched the space earlier this month with the aim of showcasing Melbourne’s creative community and to represent a diverse range of artforms.

Amie’s background is in documentary filmmaking and, since graduating in 2007, she has worked hard to establish her practice. She now considers herself to be privileged enough to initiate and choose film projects to work on, and an important part of her practice involves sharing her filmmaking skills via workshops with community groups, largely in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

Amie was working in a studio that wasn’t entirely meeting her needs, so decided to find a studio space that would allow her to not only be based, but where she could also collaborate and tap into other people’s creativity. Her dream was to open up a space run by and for artists in Melbourne; a supportive space where makers could pursue, perform, hone, sell and display their craft, and a relaxed space where artists could meet to collaborate and co-create. As a resident of Footscray, Amie wanted to be based in the western suburbs, and so set about finding the perfect location.

As soon as Amie walked into an old tattoo parlour on Nicholson Street, Footscray, she knew she’d found ‘the one’. She spent some time researching how to lease a commercial space and checking out other artist spaces to see how they were run, and took out a twelve-month lease on the building, giving it one last hurrah before it will be turned into a multi-story apartment block. Amie received the keys in early October and she and a team of volunteers set about transforming the old parlour into a vibrant and diverse space, with freshly painted walls and a lovely concrete floor.

One of Amie’s goals with Colour Box was to incorporate the community into the space as much as possible, so it was important that those volunteering their time felt that the space was as much theirs as anybody else’s. In the six weeks running up to the launch Amie also managed to find time to develop an online presence and teach herself how to build a website.

You could say that the past couple of months have been pretty hectic for Amie, but she says it’s been an epic adventure so far, and the level of support Colour Box has already received from the community has made it all worth it. One of the first projects for Colour Box Studio is the fantastic pop-up shop that you can see here. The shop features a range of wares from Melbourne makers (including Aacute, Able & Game, AK Adornments, Hannakin, Milk & Cookies, North St. Flowers, Pacific Women’s Weaving Circle, plus many more), and also incorporates an artist residency.

There are also a range of different workshops happening, and there will be a new program running each month that focuses on a different artistic discipline. The pop-up shop will be running until Christmas, so head on down to 236 Nicholson Street, Footscray to check it out for yourself,  visit the Colour Box Studio website for workshop details and stay up-to-date via the Colour Box Studio Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Diane Leyman is a freelance editor, proofreader and project manager with more than six years of experience working in non-fiction illustrated trade book publishing. She has a passion for all things design, and writes a design blog called Notes to a Further Excuse. She also likes taking photographs, crafting, drinking coffee and obsessing over mid-century homewares.