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Friends of Araluen

The Friends of Araluen is a community based not-for-profit organisation that works with the Araluen Arts Centre to generate inspiring and entertaining arts and cultural experiences for the wider Alice Springs community across a range of cultural forms including visual arts, community arts, craft, film, music, theatre and dance.  By encouraging public involvement and interest in the Araluen Arts Centre we foster the practice, study and appreciation of the Arts in the Alice Springs community. 

Established in 1976 as the Araluen Foundation for Arts and Cultural Conservation, the organisation’s initial aim was to secure the land at what is now known as the Araluen Cultural Precinct, for the establishment of a facility for community participation in the arts and crafts in perpetuity. At that time the land (which was the town’s old airport) was purchased by the Commonwealth and proposed for medium density residential development.  Concerned residents opposed this plan, stressing the need for both an open space and a cultural centre for the growing community.

With limited funds and determination, the Foundation lobbied hard and with the change to self-Government in 1978, were able to work with the Territory Government to transfer the land from Commonwealth ownership and begin planning the Araluen Art Centre.

At the opening of the Araluen Arts Centre in 1984 the Director said that the Foundation was an example of one of the most successful grassroots movements in the history of the arts in Australia. In June 1993 the Araluen Foundation formally changed its name to The Friends of Araluen.   In October 1998 the Friends received $2.3M in Commonwealth funding for the construction of a Community Gallery at Araluen.

Today the Friends continue to promote public interest in the Araluen Arts Centre, as well as directly encouraging and supporting creative practices more broadly in the community.  This is achieved through activities such as our Community Arts Grant program, Fran Morey Arts Encouragement Award for students, and the purchase of local artworks to grow our own Art Collection for public display at Araluen. 

We are also currently:

  • documenting the history of the Friends through our “Homestead to Hub” project and particularly those events in the mid 1970s – 1980s surrounding the establishment of the Araluen Arts Centre and development of particular artistic forms in Central Australia (e.g. theatre, jazz and folk music).  This information will be used to enhance the visitor experience at Araluen across multiple creative platforms and to foster greater public appreciation of the cultural significance of, and public interest in, the Araluen Arts Centre and the key role it plays in the social and cultural life of Central Australia;
  • presenting a series of “Living histories” events at Witchetty’s  featuring short 10 minute talks  by individuals who been/are involved in the arts and cultural sector of Alice Springs; and
  • fundraising for a new Grand Concert piano which will be owned by the Friends and housed at Araluen. For more information regarding this project, including how you can make a tax deductible donation, please visit the Australian Cultural Fund webpage at https://cpaus.force.com/artists/s/project/a2E6F000003YuZmUAK/striking-a-chord-in-alice-springs

You can help us to support Araluen by becoming a Member of The Friends of Araluen. The benefits of membership include voting rights and opportunities to provide direct feedback to the Araluen Arts Centre on programming, and ongoing event and facility development. 

You can become a Friends member just by ticking the box “Yes I’d like to join Friends of Araluen” when you sign up as an Araluen Ars Centre member.

For further information on The Friends of Araluen, please send us an email at friendsofaraluen@gmail.com

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