Jul 29 2014
In mid 2010 artist Kim Nelson embarked on a new project in his hometown: a public studio. It was known as Kim Nelson Fine Art & Editions and was part work space, part gallery, part performance venue. The following years saw the project become a major cultural tourism attraction.
In mid 2014 Kim Nelson made over Oddfellows’ to the YASSarts group to be run as an arts centre featuring changing exhibitions and highlighting arts practitioners of the local region.
It became a temporary regional arts centre and staged eight exhibitions featuring varied artists of the region organized by the YASSarts committee. The lease ended on December 10th 2014 and was not renewed as the building was scheduled for sale in 2015.
HISTORY of ODDFELLOWS
The Oddfellows’ Hall was built in 1887 by the ‘Royal Order of Oddfellows’, more commonly known in Australia as Manchester Unity, a fellowship which originated in Britain in the late 18th century. They are a benevolent and social society, sometimes classified as a friendly benefit society having initiatory rites and ceremonies, gradation or degrees in membership, and mystic signs of recognition and communication.
The title ‘Oddfellows’ was attached to them early in their history, the reasons for this being lost in the mists of time but probably related to the medieval guild system of odd trades and main trades.
The Oddfellows’ Hall in Yass was the venue for meetings and events of the Yass chapter of the Oddfellows and the lease of shops on the ground floor raised revenue for the society’s benevolent activities.
After WWII the Oddfellows’ Hall in Yass was rented out to a range of business’s finally becoming a furniture and carpet showroom. From the 1980’s until the turn of the century it was closed, becoming a storage facility. In 2001 Rosemary Hodgkinson purchased the property and restored it to its former glory eventually running her business, ‘The Sheep’s Back’ from the premises. In 2010 she encouraged her friend artist Kim Nelson to take on the hall as a studio come gallery, and the rest as they say, is history.