Arts Council chair Barbara Franklet with Refinery Artspace manager Ann Braunsteiner outside the newly-painted facade of the building. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Refinery gets hot pink makeover


If you have driven along Halifax St recently you might have noticed something a little different about the Refinery Artspace building.

The contemporary community arts centre has just received a hot pink, red and black makeover in the spirit of its bold mission.

“We were thinking ‘what can we do here?’,” says Arts Council chair Barbara Franklet. “The facade was our canvas.”

The council started planning earlier this year, with Jo Cacheimaille and Lee Woodman researching designs to give the facade of the council-owned building a fresh look.

They came back inspired by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and came up with a brand-new colour scheme.

“It’s bold, but it’s so smart looking,” says Barbara.

The Refinery Artspace is administered by Arts Council Nelson which uses it to create community art projects. It is open for artists to exhibit in, is the major venue for the Nelson Fringe Festival and rents out six studio spaces to local artists.

Nelson City Council funded the refresh but it had to pass muster with the Heritage Group, due to its proximity to Anzac Park.

“But it looks so great through the park and goes really well with the green and colours of the gardens.”

Barbara says many people would often tell her that they could not find the Refinery Artspace.

“It is easy to miss. So that’s our sentiment here – creating something contemporary and fresh that speaks to what’s going on inside.”

Now she hopes that the refresh will help it become a tourist destination.

“We want to get it on the map and say there are a lot of cool things going on inside. Everyone who I have spoken to has been nothing but positive, so that is great.”

And Barbara says there is still more changes to come for the building.

“We run on a shoestring budget, so everything is small but will make a big difference.”