“IT’LL be a terrific destination for Jewish culture … it’ll make this street a very exciting destination.” That is how Victorian Multicultural Affairs Minister Ros Spence summed it up when The AJN asked for her impressions of a briefing she was given on plans for the Jewish Arts Quarter (JAQ).
During Tuesday’s visit to Selwyn Street, Elsternwick, and the Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre, Spence detailed the Victorian Budget announcement allocating an additional $3.5 million towards the JAQ, which brings the Victorian government’s contribution to the project to $5 million.
Located on Selwyn Street in the heart of the Elsternwick Cultural Precinct, the Kadimah Centre and the Jewish Museum of Australia/Gandel Centre of Judaica (JMA) will be part of a larger hub including Sholem Aleichem College, the Jewish Holocaust Centre and Classic Cinemas. It will create a locale for contemporary Jewish arts and culture in Melbourne, bringing together museums, theatres, shops, restaurants, cafes, education facilities and new public spaces.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen the incredible connection of Victoria’s Jewish and multicultural communities – and how these links strengthen us as a whole,” said Spence. “This further funding boost for the Jewish Arts Quarter – creating a vibrant hub for the people of Elsternwick and showcasing Jewish culture for many generations to come – is an important investment in Victoria’s diversity.”
At the Kadimah Centre, one of the icons of the neighbourhood that will be integrated into the planned JAQ, along with a relocated JMA, Spence was walked through artist’s impressions of the new infrastructure by Craig Brown, director of architectural firm McIldowie Partners.
Welcoming the minister, JAQ co-chair Ben Mand said, “It’s great to see our efforts being recognised by the government and gives the project a huge lift in confidence.” Co-chair Joe Tigel described the additional funding as “a terrific step”, adding, “This is a critical validation of the project and the value of Elsternwick’s Cultural Precinct for the broader community.” Co-chair Barry Fradkin stated, “I am delighted and excited by the government’s ongoing support for the Jewish Arts Quarter – we can see our dream becoming reality.”
Macnamara MP Josh Burns said, “The dream of the Jewish Arts Quarter is becoming a reality. I have been proud to support this project since its inception and it is very heartening to see such a big commitment by the Andrews Labor government. There is a lot of work to do but I congratulate the team at the Jewish Arts Quarter for their dedication and hard work so far.”