Hobart has a new creative space.
The Burrow is a book-laden, subterranean haven tucked below the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens’ Succulent restaurant.
The space is relatively unknown – frequented mostly by a handful of Hobartians and a trickle of the waves of tourists who visit the garden.
“The Burrow feels like the kind of space where people who do know about it don’t tell other people because they want it to be a secret,” The Burrow curator Melinda Antal says. The gallery has been home to a number of local artists so far, such as Xan Nunn, Graziano Di Martino, Beth-Emily Gregory and Chris Mister.
The Burrow was originally launched as a community library and sensory room in 2012. Along with its extensive book collection, the space was fitted out with braille resources and textured art pieces. The Burrow was established by Able Australia, a not-for-profit organisation serving people with a disability. Able’s mission was to forge a space that fostered a sense of community, and a place to escape from the city.
In February last year, Able gave the space a bit of a revamp. The sensory room has since been dismantled, but the open-air library remains. Stacks of books pile into a crosshatched-shaped shelf that stretches along the entrance wall. More books line the windowsills. The space holds a motley crew of décor –remnants of its former life. A bunch of wooden stumps is wedged into a lime green Besser Block wall; cushions covered with images of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn’s faces sit on black leather armchairs scattered throughout the room; black and white pages torn out of old dictionaries arc around the doorframe, which leads into the former sensory room – now a small, quiet gallery that looks down the slopes of the garden, and out across the River Derwent.
Antal hopes artists will embrace the space, making The Burrow a regular destination on the creative circuit. She also wants more punters to leg it across the Queens Domain to come and visit. “People think it’s really far away. But it isn’t. It doesn’t take long to walk over from the city.”
Throughout June, The Burrow hosted a series of knitting and crocheting workshops, culminating in a yarn-bombing exhibition in July. Antal also launched a winter artist-in-residence program, and she’s looking for artists to exhibit throughout the rest of the year. In line with The Burrow’s community ethos, she’s open to all kinds of proposals from all kinds of artists. “I want emerging and established artists to feel like The Burrow is a space they can be comfortable to experiment with. Because it’s such a small space, you can really make it your own.”
If you want to get your work in The Burrow, contact Melinda at firstname.lastname@example.org
Images: Lucy Parakhina