Challenges

One of the major challenges of working with a developer from Sam's perspective was the perception by some in the arts sector that Queen Street Studio had 'sold out' or lost its independence. 

"Some people mistakenly thought Queen Street Studio was funded by Frasers, but we weren't. We received project funding from the City of Sydney and Arts NSW as well as receiving an annual cash donation from Frasers of $10,000, but the rest was funded by the revenue raised by Queen Street Studio."

"But that was challenge in terms of our branding, getting the message across that Queen Street Studio was an independent arts organisation while being inside FraserStudios and not being able to put our name on the building."

But while the space was called 'FraserStudios', the developer took a hands-off approach to the activities in the space. "There was no censorship by Frasers," Sam says. "We ran the space pretty much as we did our original studio on Queen Street." 

Landing a huge, rent-free space reaped plenty of benefits, but there were some challenges in terms of time and operations.

"The scale of operations were larger than our previous experience. We had three studios and two floors of visual artists - and the expectations from artists were so much more - but we were still running on pretty much the same budget as for one studio," says Sam. 

"So space can be a liability. FraserStudios is five times the size of what we originally had, so the cost to all of our management team, in terms of volunteer time we had to put in, was huge. It was five times the amount of work from our previous experience, which was a big shock when we were starting up."