The Jewish Arts Quarter (JAQ) site received a visit from Premier Daniel Andrews last Wednesday.
Joining the Premier were a host of state MPs in addition to federal Member for Macnamara Josh Burns.
Andrews, who last visited the site four years ago when JAQ was just a vision, said, “[I am] absolutely delighted and thrilled that you’ve made such concrete progress, such really tangible progress to be shovel ready, in such a short period of time.”
The JAQ team thanked the Premier for his government’s commitment of $7 million to the project, before JAQ director Gideon Kline spoke of how the project is about “the Jewish culture, but it’s showcasing it in a way that it becomes a treasure for the entire community”.
“I think what differentiates this proposal from many others is to create something that will be a real jewel in the crown for multiculturalism in this state,” he said.
“We look at it as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the Jewish community, to create something that is going to serve us and the entire Victorian community for generations to come.”
JAQ director Ben Mand spoke about how multiculturalism is at the heart of JAQ.
“JAQ will have all the ingredients that are required to bring to life a vibrant cultural hub, and of course the very best Jewish food in town,” he said.
Architectural firm Fender Katsalidis unveiled its new design concepts for the project.
“We are really big believers in the importance of arts and culture in creating wonderfully vibrant and integrated and engaged communities. Our design allows the maximum space for multiple cultural activities to take place,” Fender Katsalidis partner James Pearce said.
“We’re looking for a contemporary vision for the building, but one that is timeless. It is housing organisations that have an incredible history. And we’re looking for them to have an incredible future.”
The Gandel Foundation has been involved in the JAQ project since its inception. Grant manager, Jewish and Israel Programs Nicole Brittain said, “We are proud to be on the journey and can’t wait to see what JAQ can do for both the Jewish and wider Australian and multicultural communities.”
Centre of Jewish Artists founder Romi Kupfer said, “We’re so excited to be a part of JAQ and know it’s going to be an exciting place that will bring many diverse communities together to celebrate Jewish arts and culture.”
Impressed with the presentation, the Premier said, “It’s so much more than each of its component parts … it will be a precinct that’s active and vibrant, and will be able to showcase the Jewish culture, faith, arts, music, food and everything in between.
“I very much look forward to being here to turn the soil and for the milestones thereafter.”