Arts House - City of Melbourne

Strategy and business planning


Arts House runs multiple venues in the heritage listed building complexes of the North Melbourne Town Hall and Metropolitan Meat Markets.  Arts House presents a curated program of contemporary art featuring performances, exhibitions, live art, installations,and cultural events. They program three 440-850 seat plus venues, provide office and rehearsal space for a wide variety of artists, and run a box office and various food venues.  Arts House also commissions new works. 

Both the North Melbourne Town Hall and the Meat Market have a mix of writers, festivals, musicians, designers and various other creatives based on the premises.  

The Task

Cobalt59 was asked to develop strategic and business plans for both venues.  The central vision was to create a wide range of artists creative space at affordable prices, in a way that was sustainable for the continued maintenance and development of the buildings.

Primary issues were access, equity, quality of the works, ongoing relationships and a mix of arts workers that ensured vibrancy. The strategy had to both encourage innovation, but also maintain a quality of participants that would make it unique at both a national and international level.

Cobalt59 did extensive research on the competitive environment, looking at international, national and local City of Melbourne trends and case studies.We engaged in a wide-ranging artists consultation process, determining those elements and processes that most supported creative works of all kinds. We also worked closely with multiple layers of Council to fully incorporate the key elements of Council’s strategic approach to providing for all the community.  

The Result

The City of Melbourne accepted and implemented the Strategy and Business Plan.  Follow up proved thef inancial analysis and projections to be correct.  

Both venues continue to thrive, providing vibrant spaces and supporting high quality and highly innovative work.

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