For Rosemary Lee and Tony Curran, a residency at Megalo Print Studio in Kingston is a rare chance to spend time thinking only about art.
Lee, 26, who completed a Bachelor of Fine art at the National Art School in Sydney, was awarded a graduate residency in Canberra, while Curran, 34, has spent three years living in the ACT.
Both have relished the opportunity to explore the possibilities in Megalo's well-equipped print-making facilities with the support of print-making experts.
Curran, whose current work has focused on the relationship people have developed with the screen culture of their smartphones, said his residency let him focus on one particular project.
Lee said her month-long residency had given her the chance to create a solid body of work in an environment that was very different to her home in Sydney. "When I was studying full time at art school, I was pumping out ideas constantly and I found that once I stopped having that flow, that steady stream of just making work, the ideas sort of stalled and it took me a really, really long time to just finish a work," she said.
A chance to spend time in an environment focused on art, with other artists, was the chance Lee needed to produce work quickly again and develop new relationships in the art world.
Both agreed bringing art organisations together in Kingston as part of the arts precinct development would benefit Canberra's art community.
"Anywhere that can stimulate audiences turning up to things is a great way to stimulate culture. And one of the hardest things in this day and age of social media is that, if people have seen the photograph of something, then they've seen it," Curran said.
"The more you can get people to turn up to an exhibition space and see the work, because the work does a different thing once you're in front of it, and if you've got organisations that are linked in one area, then that enables people to sort of go to a show they didn't necessarily plan to," he said.
MORE KINGSTON ARTS PRECINCT NEWS
The precinct, which will bring key ACT arts organisations together, would give artists an even better chance to work together, according to the Suburban Land Agency, which is the driving the project.
Geocon, which has signed an agreement with the ACT government to deliver the development, is required to deliver artists' accommodation as part of the mixed-use development, which could replace the 1948 heritage-listed switch room at Kingston. The building is used by the Glassworks as artist accommodation.
Megalo artists-in-residence have the option to stay in Cargill's Cottage at The Causeway.
Megalo, which was founded in 1980 and has hosted artists-in-residence since at least 1985, hosts one international artist each year, five Australian artists and graduate artists.
A spokeswoman for the ACT government said the Kingston Arts Precinct proposal would be developed over the next two years as consultation took place.
"The arts organisations to be based at the Kingston Arts Precinct will provide feedback throughout the design process for the art spaces to ensure they are fit for purpose over the long term," she said.
The spokeswoman said resident organisations in the new precinct would still manage their own residency programs.