The City of Melbourne conducted a survey of shopfronts in January that indicates that 13 per cent of street facing shopfronts are vacant and a further 13 per cent are closed due to COVID-19.
Twenty three vacant shopfronts across the city have been adorned with large-scale vinyl artworks by Victorian artists with a further 22 to be installed over the next two months. These art works are being installed in areas including on Bourke Street, Elizabeth Street, Niagara Lane and Freshwater Place in Southbank.
The City of Melbourne is also working with precinct associations, businesses and the commercial real estate industry to create opportunities for start-ups, local creatives, not-for-profits and social enterprises to use temporarily vacant spaces.
The investment in retail strip and shopfront activation is part of the joint $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund in partnership with the Victorian Government.
“Empty shopfronts are a visible reminder that the City of Melbourne’s economy has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. We are investing in these creative programs as a short-term measure to ensure our streets remain appealing and continue to encourage people to our inner-city areas.“, the Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.
“As our city streets begin to hum with workers and shoppers once more, we want to convert our vacant shopfronts into open air art galleries. We want visitors to be greeted with a visual feast instead of empty shops, while we work to bring our city’s economy back from COVID-19.”, Councillor Roshena Campbell said.
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Image: “Swimming Through the City” by Oslo Davis