12 December 2023

The Servo expansion: Popular Port Kembla venue's exciting new chapter puts creatives in picture

| Keeli Royle
Join the conversation
Graffiti artists painting

The Servo is introducing more opportunities for a range of creatives. Photo: Maria Cruz Photography.

A popular Port Kembla venue is set to create its own arts precinct in the area by expanding operations and launching a neighbouring gallery to encourage and foster local talent.

The Servo has already become a hotspot for live music and specialised creative events but when the business next door relocated into a new space, director James Spink saw the potential for the impact of the site to be even greater.

“The plan is to have something that ties in with what we’ve already started to build with The Servo,” James said.

”That will work in the same direction and ethos but will bring something new and an additional experience for people in Port Kembla and provide more opportunities for creatives.”

Previously a gym, the space next to The Servo will soon become a gallery and communal work artist studio space suitable for various types of events.

The idea formed organically, with the venue recently integrating a more diverse range of offerings at the site, including cinema and film elements, audiovisual events, gallery exhibitions and even book launches.

READ ALSO Could Port Kembla be the new cool kid on the block?

“I guess the idea is to create a bit of an arts precinct that’s really multifaceted and encompasses anything and everything within the creative scope,” James said.

“Rather than being focused on one form of art or creative direction, we want to have somewhere where all different forms of creativity can flourish and be experienced and shared.”

He said that collaboration and mixture of arts was becoming increasingly common among creatives.

“So many artists these days, we find that they’re an artist, they’re a musician, they take amazing photos, and they do all these incredible different things and they’re sharing and learning with people from really different genres or backgrounds,” he said.

People at an outside eatery

The Servo has been expanding operations for the past 18 months into different creative fields. Photo: Supplied.

And although the gallery will be new, it will also be a nod to the site’s history.

“There’s a huge sign above the venue that’s still existing from previous times is NASA Batteries, which I’m told was the name of one of the owners at one stage of the business, so we wanted to pay a bit of homage to it.”

“So I came up with NASA Galleries And Studios, which is ‘New And Special Art’, which, abbreviated, comes to NASA GAS, which links to it being a gas station.”

It’s part of a suite of exciting new developments, planned for the site over the next year, which will allow them to explore the true potential of the space.

“With the addition of an in-house kitchen and then this space, it gives us the opportunity to provide somewhere where we can collaborate with another business, like our friends up the road, Yakka or Seeker, and do pop-ups,” James said.

READ ALSO Boom, bust and revamp: Port Kembla creatives revive a dying Illawarra town

It will also allow the venue to be more accessible during daytimes and afternoons, instead of operating predominantly on evenings and weekends.

“One thing for making the business viable and successful is having it operating more frequently as well and encouraging more people to come to the space and utilise the space,” James said.

“Gigs focused around breakfast, brunch and sipping coffee rather than sipping a beer will be interesting. I’ve not ever been to a breakfast gig but I love the idea of it.”

With the goal of opening the gallery early next year, James will now work with some of the potential users of the space to ensure the design and outcomes tick all the boxes and are fit for purpose.

“We have a bit of construction to do, it’s in a bit of a state of storage at the moment, and then creating the space into what we envisage,” he said.

“We will get the feedback from some of the artists interested in coming into the space as well and work on creating somewhere that will work for everyone.”

To stay up to date on the new space and future events, visit The Servo website, Facebook or Instagram.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Daily Digest

Want the best Illawarra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Illawarra stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.