The Danks Street Gallery has taken Sydney’s art world by surprise. It is a collection of independent galleries housed in an old warehouse in the backwaters of Waterloo. An indication of its success as a space is the fact that the gallery area put aside for 2 week hires by independent artists is now booked out until 2005. Danks Street is the creation of Leo Christie.
Danks Street’s origins lie with a chance meeting I had with Christopher Hodges of the Utopia Gallery in 1989. I am a lawyer but at that time I was giving my time to raise funds for the NSW Cancer Council. I wanted to publish a portfolio of prints ad Chris took me to Central Australia to gather material. We have been publishing portfolios together ever since.
Chris has an impossible space in Annandale where I would meet him. It was up 100 steps and I said to him we must do better. The hail storms of Sydney came to our rescue. This old factory had its roof shattered and was written off. The previous owner got approval to build townhouses but I bought it and council approved our application for use as ‘creative industry’.
The yellow comes from the fact that Kodak used to be here – the garage door is still the Kodak yellow. Robert May was the architect and his wife Brenda now has her own gallery here. I like art and I like food. I think its important to have a successful cafe. I have had a long association with the Bayswater Brasserie and knew Jared Ingersoll from there. He has taken up the Danks Street Cafe which has been an instant success. The whole thing has come out better than I could have hoped.