Mimi Arts & Crafts one step closer to $2 million upgrade

Mimi Aboriginal Art and Craft in Katherine is one step closer in its transformation today, with the design tender release as part of the NT Government’s $30 million Arts Trail Regional Gallery Extension Program.

Written by Chris McLennan and originally published in Katherine Times on May 20, 2020.

The $2 million investment in the art centre will enhance the gallery, artists’ studio and retail spaces. It will also improve office and storage facilities and enhance the energy efficiency and amenities of the building.

The upgrades will support 14 jobs throughout the project and boost the economic potential of Mimi Arts, providing more opportunities for local artists.

According to tender documents the upgrade would include:

  • rectifying and upgrading existing structures and maintenance issues and increasing operating efficiencies with solar panels;
  • upgrading the entry, retail, gallery, artist studios, office space and amenities to support improved gallery functions, visitor experience and engagement with Aboriginal artists;
  • development of art storage, and preparation rooms

The concept design is to re-focus the front building as an open art retail, gallery and artist workshop space, adapting the current office into a single unit gallery space, increasing the height of the ceiling to provide an improved art display and gallery experience and building over the existing courtyard to increase artist workshop and visitor engagement facilities.

The concept plan. Graphic: DIPL.

Designers have been told to develop innovative ways to achieve the desired results whilst maintaining the existing structure.

“Due to structural limits and building deterioration, possible options such as building a new structure over the existing should be considered. Stormwater will also need investigated and may cause issues for the current proposed entry. Some areas of existing structure will need to be demolished due to termites and non-compliance with standards.”

The project is progressing in consultation with local stakeholders including the Mimi Ngarrdalingi Aboriginal Corporation Board.

The Arts Trail Regional Gallery Extension Program is being rolled out across Katherine, Tennant Creek and Arnhem Land following targeted consultation.

Tourism, Sport and Culture Minister Lauren Moss said: “To ensure the art and cultural sector can rebound when the time is right, it is critical our Government continues to invest in our regions, boosting economic growth and creating jobs in regional areas.”

“We want to support communities to showcase their work in the best way possible by investing in and providing support to grow our arts and cultural industry.”

“Capital investment in these cultural facilities will enhance offerings and support local artists, jobs and businesses.”

Katherine MLA Sandra Nelson said: “The improvements at Mimi Arts are exciting – I can’t wait to see the design concepts as the next step in this important local project, which will mean more jobs for locals and greater opportunities for our artists.”

Our arts and cultural offerings are a major drawcard for visitors to Katherine. We are continuing to invest in our facilities so that when people can visit again, they will have a unique cultural experience and stay here longer.”

Mimi Aboriginal Art and Craft executive officer Michael Miller said: “After many years of discussions we are very excited to finally see this project coming one step closer to completion. This renovation will enable us to better showcase the diverse range of arts and culture of the Aboriginal people of the Katherine region.”

“It will also provide local tradies and builders in the Katherine region jobs, especially after the COVID-19 shut down that has effected many local businesses.”