Local Artists Think Inside the Box at Melbourne Library

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When a bright purple shipping container first arrived on Paisley Street in Melbourne’s West in 2014, the locals might have wondered if the artist formerly known as Prince was somehow involved.

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But the conspicuous vessel soon came to be known as Artsbox, a community-based arts initiative from the local council.

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Plonked beside Footscray Library, the converted shipping container functions as an intimate, creative space where local artists and musicians can take up temporary residency while they create and share their work.

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Artsbox hosts a rolling series of free 8-week artist residencies, giving occupants a place to develop their creative work and explore new ideas.

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Two small windows are built into the side of the purple pop up container studio, offering passers by a window into the world of the artist.

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The container is equipped with running water and electricity. Inside the Artsbox, workbenches and a light box are installed for artist use.

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The Artist-In-Residence program is a win for both the artists and the local community.

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While emerging artists can use the space to create and exhibit their work, the locals are invited to meet the artists and learn about their creative processes.

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Musician James Milson is currently in residency at the Artsbox, writing and recording a collection of demos about the rapidly gentrifying face of one of Melbourne’s most multicultural neighbourhoods, Footscray.

Contrary to the code of silence in the adjacent library, Milson spends several days each week making melodies in his purple shipping container pop up workshop.