Our building is a happy traffic of people and ideas.
Courthouse Youth Arts is Geelong’s only multi-form cultural organisation dedicated to artistic outcomes by and for people aged 26 and under. We are a vibrant place for Geelong’s young people to grow, engage and explore the world through creative activity and we want to lead youth arts on a local, state and national level.
Courthouse Youth Arts aims to develop young artists who can express what it means to live in this place and this time and communicate that to the rest of the world by providing opportunities through participation, collaboration and professional practice and to encourage risk and experimentation in a safe environment.
Striving to get the best work from young artists and allow them to achieve their full potential
ENERGY AND EXPERIMENTATION
Creating a dynamic environment that encourages young artists to try new ideas
EMPOWERMENT AND ADVOCACY
Giving young artists access to resources to create their own work.
ACCESS AND COMMUNITY
Making a community resource that supports the development of a cultural city
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Ensuring the security of all who work here while giving the permission for young artists to take creative risks
PROFESSIONALISM AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Implement good governance to ensure our ongoing viability.
In order to create outstanding work, there must be a community of trust and encouragement. We want to grow a new culture of creation and in order to do this Courthouse Youth Arts must feed the needs of existing artists to show that it is possible to live a creative life in regional Victoria.
Courthouse Youth Arts was created in 1996, with the intention of becoming a culture and arts hub for the youth of Geelong. Today, we strive to be at the leading edge of the Geelong arts scene. Our aim is to give Geelong’s youth a place where they can come be themselves and have fun, as well as give them the chance to unleash their creative side for the whole world to see.
In the early 1990s, the Barwon Adolescent Task Force commissioned a study regarding the cultural needs of young people within the city of Geelong. As a result, a group of local young people – together with local youth workers – formed a collective called The Venue Project. With support from the Youth Information and Development Association, to further determine the requirements for a youth-specific venue in Geelong.
The recently merged City of Greater Geelong recognised the need for a youth-specific arts and culture centre, and in November 1994 they purchased the former Geelong Law Courts and Police Station Complex from the Victorian State Government.
The Courthouse Project Inc. was established on the 20th of September 1995. The Courthouse Project Inc. was an independent incorporated association, with representation from CoGG, relevant industry and community sectors and young people who managed and developed the vision of the venue.
Further funding came in 1996 from the Community Support Fund of Victoria, which assisted with capital works for the venue’s development. On the 23rd November 1996, the Governor General of Australia, His Excellency Sir William Deane, officially opened “The Courthouse” during a street festival held just outside the Courthouse venue, featuring live music performances, outdoor theatre and other entertainment.
In October 2000, the members of The Courthouse Project Inc voted to change the name of the association to the Courthouse Youth Arts Centre Inc, in order to more clearly reflect the aims and objectives of the organisation and venue. A competition was launched, seeking ideas from young artists for a new logo. The winner, Georgie Bush, spent a week working with sponsor Dzign Visual Communication to bring the logo to completion. The new logo was unveiled by local MP Elaine Carbines and then Mayor, Cr ‘Stretch’ Kontelj, in October 2001.
By 2008, the original building was beginning to show its age, and so $6.5 million dollars was allocated by Major Projects Victoria towards a major refurbishment. The newly refurbished building was officially opened by then-Premier Ted Baillieu in late 2011.
Over the past 20 years, Courthouse Youth Arts has, in its various incarnations, seen an immense amount of activity and creativity, providing thousands of young people with an accessible and exciting venue.