Within its design, each level of Geelong Arts Centre represents a different First Nations reference to Country.
Coming together as co-designers, ARM Architecture, Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation and the wider First Nations community have woven traditional stories of the land, water and sky, and the colours and textures of Moonah trees, ochre, and granite stone throughout the layers of the building.
Inspired by the red ochre, air, water and gathering places provided by Mother Earth
Key design features include the specially commissioned intricate eel mural in café Tutti by proud Worimi artist, Gerard Black; inspired by his connection to the land and ocean of Wadawurrung Country. Other key design features include the incorporation of a Wadawurrung language installation by the main entrance in the Little Malop Street forecourt, as well as the powerful truthtelling artwork by Wadawurrung Woman and contemporary artist, Kait James, featured on the building's Western Facade.
Moonah Forest Country
Inspired by stories and sounds connected to the Moonah trees of the coast
These sacred trees are of creation and ceremonial significance. Key design features include 250-seat theatre The Open House, where the materiality of the acoustic, timber panel walls reflects the imagery of the Moonah Forest, and specially commissioned soundscape by proud Ngarrindjeri and Gunditjmara artist, Mick Ryan, emulating the sounds of the wind-blown branches and nesting birds found in the Moonah Forest.
Inspired by the Country of Bunjil (eagle) and Balyang (bat)
Bunjil soared over Wadawurrung Country, shaping the landscape and creating the people and animals. A wedge-tail eagle creator being, Bunjil made the laws for people to live by, before becoming a star to live forever. Key design features include the carpet design which utilises abstracted feathers mirrored in two directions to form a unique pattern, incorporating references to travelling theatre through its use of large and repeating Kaleidoscope patterns.
Night Sky Country
Inspired by the Moon and Stars stories
Key design features include 550-seat theatre The Story House, where the perforated panel walls have been designed by proud Gunditjmara Keerray Woorroong artist, Tarryn Love, to reflect, in her traditional language of Keerray Woorroong, yoowak (the night), consisting of kakatheereeng, meenkeel and wootyook (the stars), tanteen tyamoorn (the Milky Way), and alam meen (Ancestors wrapped in their Possum Skin Cloaks).