The Arts Centre Melbourne, originally known as the Victorian Arts Centre and briefly officially called The Arts Centre, is a performing arts centre consisting of a complex of theatres and concert halls in the Melbourne Arts Precinct, located in the central Melbourne suburb of Southbank in Victoria, Australia. It was designed by architect Sir Roy Grounds, the masterplan for the complex (along with the National Gallery of Victoria) was approved in 1960 and construction began in 1973 following some delays. The complex opened in stages, with Hamer Hall opening in 1982 and the Theatres Building opening in 1984. The Arts Centre is located by the Yarra River and along St Kilda Road, one of the city's main thoroughfares, and extends into the Melbourne Arts Precinct, with its spire a well-knwon landmark of Melbourne.
The sculptures are by Cole Sopov, who was born in Greece in 1938, and studied fine arts in Europe before immigrating to Australia in 1971. From 1973 to 1974 he attended the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, before being appointed lecturer in Fine Arts at Monash University from 1977 to 1995. Sopov was commissioned by John Truscott in 1983-84 to create two groups of figures, ‘Family of Man I’ and ‘Family of Man II’ for the entrance foyer of the Theatres Building. These two sculpture groups were moved in 2001 to their current prominent location overlooking the lawn area between the Theatres Building and Hamer Hall.
The circus mosaic commemorates the important association between the site now occupied by the Victorian Arts Centre and the development of circus in Australia., The area referred to as "near Princes Bridge" was favoured as a circus location and "outdoor Playground" from the 1870's. One of the first tenants was the American circus, Cooper and Bailey`s which pitched its tents on the banks of the Yarra in 1877. Wirth Brothers Circus took over the lease in 1907 and demolished the existing temporary building erected earlier by Fitzgerald Brothers Circus. They built their own Olympia on the re-named Wirth Park, complete with a circus hippodrome, roller skating rink, race track, water chute and lake. It remained Wirth's Melbourne headquarters until 1953 when the buildings were destroyed by fire.
Wirth Brothers` Circus was billed as "the greatest show on earth" and became an Australian institution during its long history ( 1858 - 1953). Conveyed by its own special trains and drawing upon the major circuses of the world for its performers, it was a circus in the grand style. May Wirth ( 1895 - 1980 ) first performed with Wirth`s as a child and displayed an outstanding talent for horseback acrobatics. She went on to great international acclaim and was widely acknowledged as the finest circus equestrienne in the world. Unveiled on 7 June 1988 to mark the 150th anniversary of circus in Australia. A joint project between the Circus Fans of Australasia Inc. and the Performing Arts Museum, Victorian Arts Centre. Created by Joe Attard and David Jack of the Melbourne Mural Studio. Supported by the Commonwealth Department of Communications and the Arts.
This post is part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme,
and also part of the Monday Murals meme,
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