Boom Gallery

by Lisa Marie Corso, Managing Editor
Thursday 16th August 2012

Kate Jacoby and Ren Inei of Boom Gallery.  Artwork behind by Ren Inei.  Photograph by Sean Fennessy.

Boom Gallery cafe.  Lamps handmade on a shoestring – they’re glass shades (from the tip shop!), reo left over from the concrete bench, and recycled extension leads!  Photograph by Sean Fennessy.

Boom Gallery cafe.  ‘Rabbit Boy’ sculpture by Jeff Raglus (oil on Cypress).  Photograph by Sean Fennessy.

During our recent day trip to Geelong to produce our Geelong City Guide with Oh! Hello Geelong, we discovered Boom Gallery – a place that literally left us speechless (which is kind of a big deal – we talk A LOT!). Upon entering this part gallery / part retail space / part cafe it was 100% apparent that we needed to dedicate an entire post to Boom. There was just too much awesomeness going on.

What perhaps is even more incredible is the story behind Boom’s owners – business partners Ren Inei and Kate Jacoby – who dreamt up this concept and made it happen in eight months on a shoestring budget. Not that you could tell, mind you, since every minute interior detail has been executed to perfection.

Ren and Kate are both born and bred in Geelong, and have been friends since their teenage years.  The notion to open Boom was spurred after Ren had explored another old woollen mill in Geelong, which led to the light bulb moment – ‘Why not utilise one of these historic architectural treasures to house a gallery?’.  The logical next step was to partner with long time friend and creative collaborator Kate, to make this concept a reality.

Boom opened just last August in Newtown aka ‘the Toorak of Geelong on a mini-scale’ – as we were told by several locals (we concur).  There is so much goodness going on in this little pocket, positioned near the banks of the Barwon River. Kate and Ren describe the building that they converted as ‘a shell with a lot of promise’.   It was originally part of a larger woollen mill constructed for returned servicemen, but most recently was used as a candle factory.

You might imagine that the idea of removing decades of candle wax from concrete floors would deter some people.  Not these two!  The duo persevered, finally delivering a multi-purpose hub, divided into a retail space, contemporary art gallery and cafe that stocks and showcases the talents of local creatives from Geelong and surrounding areas. Seriously everything stocked at Boom has been thoughtfully considered, even the muesli bars and cakes sold at the cafe are baked by a local lady!

Ren and Kate intended for Boom to be an active, vibrant and inviting gallery space and  figure the addition of a coffee bar and design area could ‘inject that sort of life’.  Mission accomplished!  They also explain that one of the real bonuses of the business has come from the connections and relationships that have been formed by simply giving creative people a place to sit and talk. ‘Often we will have a few artists and designers in here just really enjoying the atmosphere, and the opportunity to share stories and ideas – now THAT is really awesome!’ says Kate. ‘The area is just so rich with a far greater breadth and depth of talent than we ever could have imagined – each week we are approached by new artists and designers seeking representation.’

Kate and Ren have also just taken over a warehouse down the road from here, which they’re developing into another collaborative workspace for local artists and designers.  AMAZINGLY, this new space will be affixed to another gallery and sculpture garden, set to open in the next few months. Now that’s some serious Geelong pride!

Boom’s latest exhibition ‘Works on Paper’ opens this Saturday from 2.00pm to 4.00pm.

Boom Gallery
11 Rutland St
VIC 3216

Paper-thin ceramics by Ichimu at Boom Gallery.  Photograph by Sean Fennessy.

Boom Gallery exterior.  Photograph by Sean Fennessy.

by Lisa Marie Corso, Managing Editor
Thursday 16th August 2012


  • francesca 4 years ago

    this is gorgeous! I did 6 years of architecture study in Geelong – and there is a strong artistic thread running through the town in a ‘back street’ kind of way. especially in newtown. this one will definitely favour with a lot of people I know still living there. it makes me very happy to see this happening in geelong – well done boom :)

  • Jen Booth 4 years ago

    Lisa! You are the perfect match for Lucy! Welcome lady!
    Now can you please feature ichimu ceramics? I want that spoon thing… And I don’t even know what it is. This all makes me want to visit Geelong. Boom looks ace. Nice one x

  • Laura + Penny 4 years ago

    Massive congratulations to Ren and Kate @ BOOM! So proud…A well deserved feature and awesomely compiled by Lisa, Yay for you too, lady! Ah Geelong, she’s having a very good week :)

  • Lauren 4 years ago

    This space looks like a real find! I will definitely have to make a day trip to Geelong with your city guide in hand. Do you know who the black wall sculpture is by in the cafe area? Lisa welcome to you too!

  • Lyndal 4 years ago

    Congratulations Boom,great feature Lisa.I love that I can walk to this happening part of Geelong/Newtown after I close my doors on a Saturday afternoon.So very deserved Boom looks awesome.

  • kate 4 years ago

    Thanks so much Lucy,Lisa and Sean! We are thrilled to be featured today. The sculpture on the back wall is by John Heritage -in answer to your q.Lauren

  • Claire 4 years ago

    What a wonderful feature for a wonderful gallery! Congratulations to Ren and Kate for creating such an amazing space in Geelong. It was much needed and is definitely much loved.

  • Margie 4 years ago

    great to see such wonderful building stock taken advantage of so thoughtfully. And yay TDF growing bigger! Look out world!

  • Jenna 4 years ago

    So proud of you Corso. This place looks fabulous! Looking forward to a trip to Geelong :) xx Talking Radio

  • Kath 4 years ago

    Welcome Lisa Marie!! Great right up…Makes me want to move to the other side of the bay :-)

  • aran (cocomarro) 4 years ago

    Welcome Lisa! Nice article, it´s a same I don´t live near Geelong anymore, with the last posts you made me want to go :)

  • Kath W 4 years ago

    Swoon. This site has just become even more addictive.

  • megan 4 years ago

    Ren -that painting! that painting! is it for sale? it is wonderful and i love it and want it. mm

  • kate jacoby 4 years ago

    Megan, yes the painting is for sale. Email us at for more info if you want

  • fiona mcdonald 4 years ago

    great article lisa. boom is everything you describe and more. ren and kate are gorgeous and have created a fantastic gallery space for geelong. very beautiful. i can’t wait to see the new spaces as well! x

  • fiona mcdonald 4 years ago

    ps thanks for the lovely words on ichimu jen : )

  • Kirsty // OTIS & OTTO 4 years ago

    Such a lovely space. Yay Geelong! x

  • Loretta 4 years ago

    Love TDF and love the article Lisa – can’t wait to read more!
    Geelong finally gets the attention it deserves – such a cool place.

  • Claire 4 years ago

    Well done Kate! Boom! Can’t wait to check out the new gallery space! and thanks Lisa for highlighting some of the awe inspiring creative spots in Geelong!

  • Siri 4 years ago

    Very nice:-)

  • Alex 4 years ago

    L O V E. L I S A ‘ S. W O R K! ! !

  • Cricket 4 years ago

    Well done Kate and Ren – very proud of your fabulous space!

  • Benita 4 years ago

    It was a rainy old day in Geelong, when i popped into Boom. Flying in from the sunny Gold Coast, Kate defrosted me with a hot chai tea! Lovely conversation and an inspiring space. The gallery is not only an innovative space for Geelong, but a remarkable “buttress” of art for Australia!
    Can’t wait to see what Ren and Kate have in store at the sculpture garden…

  • Lisa 4 years ago

    Thanks everybody for making me feel so welcome! :) And keep up the GREAT work Kate and Ren!

  • Kerrin irvine 4 years ago

    You two so deserve the recognition…..go visit now!!!!

  • DJ Paine 4 years ago

    Boom is one of AUSTRALIA’s best kept cultural secrets. A truly inspiring place created and curated by two of Australia’s most inspiring artists. Truly one of my favourite places in the WORLD. Everyone should go and support this place now.

  • Lakshmi 4 years ago

    Great feature. The hanging lamps and the spice rack really stand out.

  • Anita Iacovella 4 years ago

    Congratulations Ren And Kate. What a fantastic write up about your amazing art space BOOM Geelong, Newtown. This is truly a rare Artist Hub, which is a vital growth for the wider Geelong region. So it’s very true that “from little things big things grow”.
    So everyone head in and support BOOM on their amazing creative adventure and of course excellent coffee!

  • Deb 4 years ago

    BOOM gallery is indeed a fabulous concept. The article really does highlight everything that makes the space so appealing. the Gallery highlights some of the regions most original and exciting artists in such an inviting and unpretentious manner as well a fabulous place to go for a great coffee (and cake!) as well as that you can pick up some original and beautiful giftware for the pressie you forgot to get on the way out! Congratulations BOOM.

  • Lorraine Pennington 4 years ago

    you place looks great… wish i was closer so i could see if you wanted to show my artwork…

  • Leah 4 years ago

    Love this gallery. Works on Paper was a great exhibition, looking forward to whats next.

  • Troy Mendham 3 years ago

    Went for a trip to Geelong on your recommendation, what a great little spot Boom is. It’s out of the way industrial setting reminded me of parts of Collingwood near my studio.

  • Beverly Segon 2 years ago

    Hi bev segon here was just wondering if you would be still interested in supporting a group of parents from artunlimited when we form our own incorporated parent body to enable us to move to a not her building in geelong for our artunlimited people with their awesome art work. Sharon Bromley mentioned to me that you would possibly like to be on our board. We are feeling absolutely gutted at stlaurances decision not to support our art exhibitions they have ruined our art studio in corio due to their own greed. I have reported gillian robertson ceo of lara to ndis and they weren’t to pleased with what I told them and have enlisted the engagement team with Gerard Corbett and four other very supportive people who have assured me that they will help us find another building and it will be better and bigger for our very special needs artist people. Please get back to me ren thanking you bev segon

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