Shopfront Arts Co-op
In the 1970s, a group of young artists banded together to purchase a property in South Sydney. These were the original members of Shopfront Arts Co-op – a celebrated arts hub run for and by young people which, four decades on, continues to provide quality arts education to Young People of all backgrounds and abilities.
In September 2018, VFFF approved funding towards the redevelopment of Shopfront’s South Sydney premises. The new Home of Youth Arts was designed to increase the building’s capacity and accessibility while generating rental income via the development of seven co-location spaces. The grant comprised an initial $200,000 plus an additional $150,000 matched funding incentive alongside a Social Enterprise Finance Australia (Sefa) loan.
Shopfront, VFFF and Sefa collaborated to identify a funding solution that best supported Shopfront’s objectives. The redevelopment – which includes an additional multipurpose studio theatre and new rooftop terrace – will enable Shopfront to increase its audience by 142% and support an additional 400 Young Artists in its first year of operation. Since its soft re-opening in July, the new building has already been used by over 3000 people.
Co-locating with a youth homelessness service was an important priority for Shopfront, which has emerged as a vital safe space for its participants. St George Accommodation for Youth now occupies two spaces within the Home of Youth Arts, providing on-the-ground assistance for young people experiencing housing instability and complex support needs.
The official opening of the Home of Youth Arts was held on the 13th December during the 2020 Elevate Festival, a two-day multicultural, multi art festival showcasing diverse Art Makers.
"This was a very significant project for Shopfront, securing the next 40 years of service for the Young People of our local community. It would never have been possible without the support and guidance of VFFF and SEFA who invested in a way that was more than financial. They supported Shopfront patiently through the journey and tested our assumptions. It never felt like less than an equal partnership, which I think has been one of the keys to the success of this project.”