Living Laneways project boosts arts and culture in Singleton ahead of gallery launch

23/02/2022

The final strokes of a vibrant new mural have activated yet another laneway in Singleton, inspiring the imagination of locals and visitors ahead of the launch of the $4.08million Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre next month. 

Two centuries ago, Soapsuds Lane was bustling hub for travellers due, in part, to its proximity to George Street and the Hunter River crossing, flanked by an inn and wash house. 

Vicki Brereton, Singleton Council’s Director Organisation and Community Capacity said the artwork design not only tells the story of the laneway, but also showcases Singleton’s culture and heritage.

“The Living Laneways project has injected new life into the town centre, stimulating imagination and creativity throughout the Singleton area ahead of the launch of the Arts and Cultural Centre,” she said. 

“Bronte’s mural design was inspired by research, including old documents and newspaper articles, as well as consultation with local historians. We know the laneway quite literally used to be filled with soap suds from the pails of washing water emptied from the wash house, and we also know from old newspaper articles that in the early 20th century it was the scene of a scuffle or two, so the inclusion of the bubble motif and boxing gloves within the design are a nod to that colourful past.

“Arts and culture won’t just exist within the four walls of our new gallery and I encourage everyone to get out and about and view the new mural in Soapsuds Lane, and others in Evidence and Tre Bella laneways and reconnect with our town centre.”

Ms Brereton said the area’s creative life and identity will be further explored in the opening exhibitions of the Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre on 6 March 2022. 

To commemorate the official opening, a community event will be held in Townhead Park from 12pm-2pm, with gallery tours, free kids’ entertainment including jumping castles and face painting, live music and performances, and sausage sizzle. 

“We’re putting arts and culture up in lights – quite literally – with the launch of this exciting new space, which is a significant step towards our goal of making Singleton the Hunter’s centre of creativity,” Ms Brereton said. 

“The inaugural exhibitions will feature new commissions by photographer Edwina Richards and Indigenous artist Debbie Becker, each of whom have a unique connection to Singleton and the Hunter Valley.

“The Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre is a fantastic new attraction for Singleton and cements Townhead Park as a destination venue for residents and visitors alike. I look forward to seeing everyone at the opening to celebrate.”

The Singleton Living Laneways project is funded by the NSW Government’s Streets as Shared Spaces program. The Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre is funded in partnership between Singleton Council and a Create NSW grant. 

For more information about the Living Laneways project or the Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre, including the opening event and to book a free tour, visit https://www.singleton.nsw.gov.au/artsandculturalcentre