Project Contemporary Artspace is a not-for-profit volunteer run organisation that has been operating since March 1995. It began as the vision of three recent graduates from the University of Wollongong Fine Arts course, Lisa Havilah, Glen Barkley and Nathan Clarke, who recognised that there was no existing space for local artists to exhibit and perform new work. Project became an Incorporated Association in May 1997, from the period beginning 14/03/1995. The Project team made the pitch and received funding to convert an old warehouse building in Keira Street into a gallery. A Site Plan and an Environment Effects statement were drawn up by Moira Kirkwood in late 2003 and the development application was approved by council in May 2004.
Without the hard work and determination of the founding members and early committee members Project would not be what it is today. Project is unique in the Illawarra as a large purpose-built gallery/performance space, run by artists for artists. It is much-loved and utilised by local artists and artists from further afield, and artists across many generations, styles mediums and ideologies.
In any organisation, there are times in history when there are troubled waters. Project experienced a period of instability in 2011-2013 where the committee lacked the sufficient skills to successfully run the organisation. In 2013 at a Special General Meeting, a new committee was elected, which included persons qualified and experienced in the arts, business and finance. This committee wrote a clear business plan, including a financial plan, to clear substantial rental arrears with cooperation from Wollongong City Council. From this new beginning of rebuilding foundations, subsequent committees have successfully been able to further stabilise the organisation, clear all debts, successfully regain our member’s confidence, and the trust of the wider community.