107 Projects might be where you buy your morning coffee, or maybe you’ve been to exhibitions there before. Or, perhaps that’s where you saw that Canadian one-man-band that sings in Chinese and plays a self-made instrument that affixes a guitar on a keyboard. Regardless of how you know 107 Projects, it’s consistently a welcoming place that keeps things fresh and varied.
107 Projects came out of the demand for independent art spaces in the inner city. According to one of the founders, Matthew Venables, “It all began in 2001 when Chris Hancock, Matthew Venables and Keh-Hui Ng got a lease for a rodent-infested, 178m squared rundown site on Elizabeth Street in Surry Hills. This became The Frequency Lab and Knot Gallery. Renowned for its relaxed environment, it became one of the most active artist-run live music venues in inner Sydney.”
Two years later, performance-based group Token Imagination joined the team to create a multi-arts collective and together, they began searching for a new home.”
This new home materialised through the City’s accommodation grant program. Today, 107 Projects is a volunteer-run and independently funded and managed place for creative practitioners to perform, exhibit and develop work, hone their skills, engage in workshops and continue to grow professionally.
Its founding members Jess Cook, Jamie Gerlach, Chris Hancock, Michelle McCosker, Alasdair Nicol, Kali Reid and Matthew Venables are still working together under one roof and proudly shepherding the space into a bright new era.
Since opening its doors three years ago, the building has been transformed from a warehouse to a dynamic arts hub comprising of public and private spaces, while strengthening its ties with its neighbours and local community.
Having undergone an extensive planning process, 107 Projects is now in the final stages of its transformation. The next year has in store a stimulating program of 12 music presentations, four exhibitions and three performance seasons.
There will also be considerable artist support, via a program called 107 Presents, which provides resources that enable emerging and established artists to overcome financial barriers to presenting work. “Through 107 Presents, we aim to create an inclusive, in terms of audience, and broad, in terms of creative practice, contribution to the contemporary arts landscape,” said Venables.
107 Projects has also just opened a lovely rooftop garden, developed by Milkwood Permaculture, which is available for hire to community groups at an affordable rate.
See for yourself what 107 Projects has to offer at their annual open day Open 107 on 21 March from 12pm-11pm. There’ll be performances, plant life drawing, collaging, screen printing and upcycling workshops, talks, behind-the-scenes tours and more.
To show your support and make sure107 Projects stays independent, innovative and spontaneous, you can donate at 107projects.org/donate.
Watch a short history of 107 Projects: