Update on c3 Contemporary Art Space

Last year, in responding to the necessary public health restrictions required to manage COVID-19,  Abbotsford Convent put c3 Contemporary Art Space and its program into hibernation from late April 2020. In navigating the ongoing negative impacts of the pandemic on the Convent’s operations, we have come to the difficult, unavoidable decision to close c3.

The decision to close c3 has been incredibly challenging—since its inception in 2008, so much has been achieved over the gallery’s remarkable history. However, to sustain our beloved precinct and serve our many and diverse stakeholders into the future, we’ve needed to make some critical choices.

On the closure, Abbotsford Convent Foundation CEO Collette Brennan said, “The Convent is a proudly arts and community-focused organisation and like many arts and cultural institutions around the country, and indeed the world, we have been hit extremely hard by COVID-19. As part of safeguarding this precious precinct for generations to come, the closing of c3 has been unavoidable. The Convent exists to transform people’s lives through diverse cultural and creative experiences. And as we recover from the pandemic, and look to our post-pandemic future, we remain committed to curating an ambitious arts and cultural program that features more diverse arts experiences for more people, more often.”

The Convent acknowledges c3’s visionary, devoted founding Director Jon Butt, c3’s dedicated committee members, exhibiting artists, donors and supporters, volunteers, and founding CEO Maggie Maguire OAM. We would also like to thank the community for its ongoing support and empathy as the Convent and the community, especially artists, navigate many challenges during this difficult time. 

The Convent is presently undertaking a new Master Plan, and this provides an opportunity for strategic thinking around how the Convent’s diverse precinct, including the c3 space, will be used in the future.

About c3

c3 is a not-for-profit gallery run by Abbotsford Convent Foundation, that incorporates elements of traditional publicly funded galleries and that of an artist-run model (ARI). It presents the large-scale access outcomes offered by public and institutional galleries, yet remains firmly anchored within a community based, artist-run philosophy.

c3’s gallery space comprises six individual rooms. The curatorial vision encompasses a wide range of art forms, including contemporary and experimental art, design, web based art, architecture, craft, fashion, community based projects and performance/sound works. c3 supports projects that demonstrate new and innovative approaches towards the production of art and ideas.


In June 2008, c3 was established in the basement of the iconic Abbotsford Convent building as the precinct’s first permanent exhibition space. The gallery presents an engaging approach to the presentation of contemporary exhibitions across all forms of artistic practice. The gallery was built on a shoestring, using donated materials, free labour, assistance from local businesses and moral and in kind support from Abbotsford Convent Foundation (ACF).

c3 fronts onto expansive gardens, Birrarung (the Yarra river) and adjacent bush parkland within its inner city location. The site has a multi-layered and complex continuing historical journey: a meeting point for the Wurundjeri and Kulin Nation peoples, settler occupation, a convent, a university, a large multi-practice creative precinct. The gallery has a reciprocal relationship with community, in that it simultaneously builds and is built by community, allowing for an open, nimble and active curatorial vision.

c3 and Abbotsford Convent Foundation recognise the traditional custodians of the land and water of the Wurundjeri People on which we work and live.