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The Brightside - The Bank Space

The Brightside - The Bank Space

Enter The Bank Space as it invites us inside. Nestled in the heart of Port Kembla, Dharawal Country, this carefully curated mid-century artist residency serves as a cultural hub—a refuge radiating cool vibes, playing its part in the metamorphosis of Port Kembla.

G’day. Could you tell us who you are? 

Tanya Van Der Water and Cesar Bassi, along with Simon Grant, are the custodians of The Bank Space. We don’t have official titles - we are all movers and shakers though! 

How would you describe The Bank Space? 

The Bank Space is a curated Mid-Century Artist residency located in the heart of Port Kembla on beautiful Dharawal country. But it’s also much more than that. It’s a sanctuary with cool vibes, a sprinkling of good taste, and lots of elbow grease. I am grateful to have gotten it to how it feels and looks today! We are also a part of the metamorphosis of Port Kembla - a breeding ground for new creative energy and imagination. 

The building has an interesting history. Tell us more! 

The Bank Space building is just one example of how cool and vibrant Wentworth Street was in the Port Kembla wonder years. It was populated and dynamic, and from the original plans of this building, we get a strong sense it was architecturally significant. Some of the surrounding buildings are just as special as The Bank Space. 

We love how much creative energy you have in the space. What has been the most rewarding aspect of bringing this project to life? 

While we are all go-getters, this is actually a slow-burn project for us where every pivot, turn, and directional change has been welcomed. The creation of a community of locals, and not-so-much locals, has been cool. The interest we get has been phenomenal and overwhelming at times. To have someone from the other side of the world show interest in staying with us has been amazing, to say the least.  

 The building has just begun to turn the original vault into a recording studio, and we have just completed the building of a ten-metre-wide graffiti wall! Both are pretty left-field ideas born out of feedback and future potential for how to better create a space for the arts community and others. Simon is an incredible ideas man, and we champion everything that each of us brings to the table, so having the team we do has also been a rewarding experience. 

Tell us about the community in Port Kembla. 

There is a constant hum of creative spirit and resilience underlying what we see in Port Kembla. We love being a part of that. The locals are invested in bringing the area back to life and supportive of newcomers. We have had so many knocks on the door that have evolved into beautiful collaborations and partnerships. 

Where is The Bank Space located, and how can people connect with you? 

We are at 105-107 Wentworth Street, Port Kembla. Visits are by appointment only unless the front doors are wide open, inviting you to come right in! 

We can be contacted directly through our Insta page: 


Could you share any exciting plans or visions you have for the future of The Bank Space?

We imagine lots of things for the space. Collectively, though, we’d love to see the whole community use it for a whole lot of reasons. First Nations guidance and knowledge systems will always underpin all that we do. We believe our no-cost offer will benefit The Bank Space in terms of incredible reciprocated learning, but even if it doesn’t go the way we imagined, that’s also okay and part of the unknown that we are happily stepping into. We are way more than a residency, and sometimes it’s hard to describe. Watch this space! 

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