Leo, studio 281, guildford rd, maylands

Leo has lived in Maylands for 36 years, his whole life. He grew up on 9th Ave and watched the area go from somewhere you wouldn’t want to walk alone in to a vibrant, diverse and ever evolving community. He is the owner of Studio 281 Gallery and Framers, 281 Guildford Rd Maylands.

I rented this space since 2007 and then purchased the building 2 years ago. It has been a lifelong dream to bring a Gallery/art space like this to our community. This studio is one of the only Galleries in the area that supports emerging artists. We are very passionate about getting emerging artists out there, we have such a pool of amazing local talent and the biggest struggle new artists face is finding someone to have faith in them and support their journey in the early days.

At least 40 artists just from the city of Bayswater have had their works exhibited here many, having launched here, have gone on the exhibit interstate and overseas some achieving high levels of success. We have had local, interstate and internationally renowned street artists contributed to the murals on the outside walls which has been valued at $30,000. We are very proud to know this all began at our little space on Guildford Rd.

Studio 281 is not just about the art itself either, the Gallery is always buzzing with drop-ins, locals, neighbours, artists and friends. It’s become a creative hub and we love it. It’s a perfect fit for this area. Maylands is a fabulous area, and all the amazing people that live around here constantly build this community and keeping it vibrant and alive.

For Leo and studio 281, the Guildford Rd widening proposal will mean losing the front third of his property and a complete demolition of the 1920’s federation building. He won’t be able to run the Gallery with that space gone and furthermore will find great difficulty in rebuilding due to compliance with council parking requirements. He knows he wont be compensated anywhere near the full value of his property let alone the hundreds of thousands gone into renovations in the past years and he will struggle to service a huge mortgage that also encompasses his family’s property, used as collateral for his loan. Relocating and rebuilding is out of the question financially, he feels his chance of selling the space would be slim and his staff, all skilled workers, will lose their jobs. It’s gut-wrenching.

'Leo says he is not against progress but thinks apart from his own woes, the main roads plan is disorganized, uninspiring and out of date- it lets down the whole area. '

Feedback from residents and cyclists is that most cyclists will not use the planned new cycle paths to be added along Guildford Road simply because there are two more pleasant and safer traffic free alternatives already in existence .... along the railway line and along the river ..... both go from East Parade to Tonkin Highway and beyond, are easy to get to and are away from the traffic (ie away from the noise, fumes and vehicle risk).

This plan will take out about 50% of the businesses in Maylands and that’s a lot to take out of a community.

He believes there are better ways to upgrade Guildford Rd without destroying that many homes, businesses and lives. Like building more pedestrian walk-overs, fixing up the decaying, dangerous paths and having some thought for the future which wont be about bigger roads and bigger cars. The future isn’t going that way.