Art Walks: Kings Cross, Sydney City East
Explore contemporary art, urban design, heritage and its social context.
Here are three innovative ARTWALKs to explore Sydney’s historic inner-city precincts of Kings Cross, Darlinghurst and Woolloomooloo as well as Millers Point and the Rocks: Green Bans Art Walk, Sydney East Precinct Art Walk and Kings Cross Art Walk.
1. Sydney East Contemporary Art Gallery Map
Sydney East Contemporary Art Gallery Map > Download map
2. Sydney East Art Walks
The next Sydney East Art Walk is Saturday 3 December 2022, 12 – 4pm
Art Walk is an initiative of twenty prominent contemporary art galleries and art project spaces in the neighbourhoods of East Sydney, Darlinghurst, Kings Cross and Woolloomooloo.
Art Walk is simple. Several times a year — spring, summer, autumn and winter — precinct galleries coordinate an afternoon of art, drinks and food, talks and conviviality. A program of talks links the galleries.
3. Green Bans Art Walk 2011 — Self-Guided Walks
Self-guided Green Bans Walks: download DIY Green Bans map at www.greenbans.net.au
See dedicated Green Bans Art Walk site: greenbans.net.au
This art walk and the Green Bans website were developed for the Green Bans Art Walk Exhibition in 2011. Presented by The Cross Art Projects, Performance Space, Big Fag Press and The Firstdraft Depot Project Space. The project was opened with talks by Jack Mundey with response by Peter McClelland, president CFMEU and Father Edmund Campion with response by Joe Owens, former BLF secretary. Other talks were by Meredith Burgmann, co-author of Green Bans, Red Union, Catriona Moore and Pam Johnson on ‘Art and the Expanded Social Field’ and Pat Fiske, director of ‘Rocking the Foundations: A history of the Builders’ Labourers’ Federation’ at the Green Bans Film Night Finale, at the Police Citizens Boys Club in Woolloomooloo.
4. Kings Cross Art Walk
True flaneurs might prefer to stroll around four experimental project spaces within 5 minutes of each other in the heart of The Cross.
Kings Cross, 1970 at 7.35 pm. Photo by John Fitzpatrick. Courtesy National Archives.
5. Heritage walk brochure ‘Passion: Sydney’s Wild Side’ produced by Sydney City Council.
Info on ‘Aunts up the Cross’ and the El Alamein fountain and Green Bans.
Image: William Street in 1970 (Photograph: National Archives of Australia, A1200,L84004)
C.Moore Hardy Collection, City of Sydney Archives: ‘WE ARE FAMILY’ – Gay & Lesbian protest rally down Darlinghurst Road passing Les Girls, 1993. Ref: 065/065641
‘RIOT’: In June 1978 the inaugural Mardi Gras March was a walk up Darlinghurst Road to El Alamein Fountain by those who were unwavering in their fight for decriminalisation, recognition and equality. It turned into a riot when police arrested over 50 people.
The Minerva Theatre and Metro: Icon of Kings Cross
Orwell Street, Kings Cross (opposite Llankelly Lane)
The Minerva Theatre opened on 18 May 1939 and was renamed the Metro Kings Cross in 1952. It has a long association with Sydney’s stage and screen as a venue for major theatrical productions and films, musicals such as Hair and, more recently, a film production house (Kennedy Miller). The Minerva Theatre was built in the inter-war functionalist style which emerged in Australia in the 1930s. It was an evolution of Art Deco, Art moderne and Expressionist styles and greatly influenced by American and European architecture of the 1920s and 1930s. The theatre’s vertical massing, sweeping curves, stepped forms and horizontal lines symbolised progress and modernity and were considered appropriate for a venue of popular culture.
Architecture: The Minerva-Metro building i is a rare example of the interwar Expressionist / moderne style. Architects Guy Crick and Bruce Furse supervised the design and construction of the Minerva Theatre with Dudley Ward designing and supervising the interior decoration, fibrous plaster details and decorative features, and external ornamental features and painting. Often it is mislabelled as ‘Art Deco’ (and attributed to Bruce Dellit), it exemplifies Guy Crick and Bruce Furse’s mature style. Crick and Furse had built at least 50 cinemas throughout Sydney, when Dellit contracted them to design their masterpiece.
Ten years after Art Deco’s luxurious ornamentation and the Great Depression, the world wanted a new architecture for a new age and a new medium, the talkies. 80 years later, it is a National Treasure and research indicates the interior has international significance. The Minerva / Metro is the best of Kings Cross. It symbolises this area’s unique place in Australian history and Australia’s debt to European modernism. The NSW Office of Environment & Heritage recognises its significance and recommends, “The building should be retained and conserved.
Save the Metro/ Minerva: The owners (Kennedy Miller) put the building on the market in late 2017. The Kings Cross community is lobbying Sydney City Council to purchase and preserve. To date this has not been successful.
Minerva Theatre (1939-1945). Photo: Arthur Ernest Foster. From the collection of the State Library of New South Wales [a6942001 / ON 30/Box 69, ON 30/Box 70] (Mitchell Library)
Minerva Theatre opening night, Potts Point 18 May 1939. Photo: By Sam Hood. From the collection of the State Library of New South Wales [a301103 / PXE 789 (v.56), 131] (Mitchell Library)