The Werdhi Budaya Art Centre was started in 1973 and finished in 1976: the largest and most complete in a series of cultural centres built throughout the archipelago by the Indonesian Government over the last decade. Designed by Bali's foremost architect, Ida Bagus Tugur, (also architect for Indonesia,s new National Art Gallery) the vast complex is, apart from its very real cultural function, a showplace for Balinese Temple and Palace Architecture at its most opulent. The open stage Arda Candra with its towering candi gate and the almost rococo main Art Museum, sprawling park, Balinese pavilions and follies have, become a regular architectural attraction.
Built on one of the few remaining coconut groves in central Denpasar, the centre has quickly become a busy forum for the performing and fine arts. With three Art Galleries and a host of stages, the Centre is only rivalled by Jakarta's Taman Ismail Marzuki as a venue for diverse and rapidly changing cultural programs. Since 1975 the Centre has been home to the islands Dance Academy (ASTI) a tertiary level Conservatorium, Dance and Drama School for traditional Balinese Performing arts. With the islands Art Scholl situated next door, the center's seminar halls and exhibition space are devoted to the encouragement and education of local art students.
The Balinese have long had a dream: to have a large-scale central venue, where they could hold their own, Balinese Cultural Events. And this dream after many years of waiting eventually became a reality with the construction of tall building designed Balinese architecture. This building, the Mahudara Mandhara Giri Bhuwaana, was inaugurated on the 14th February 1973, the first of a series of buildings covering five hectares. This Art Center, located at Nusa Indah Street, is also known by the Balinese name Werdhi Budaya.
Function of the Art Center Building
In the North is located the Gedung Kriya Uccaihsrawa building where the fine arts exhibition are held. Balinese and foreign artists exhibit there.
To The West of Gedung Kriya lies the two story Dewi Ratih Building. Which is used during the Bali Art Festival for an architectural exhibition on the first floor and a photography exhibition on the second floor.
But the largest structure (7200 m2) by far is the giant crescent shaped Ardha Candra Amphitheater. A magnificent Candi Kurung's gates, through which the dancers enter the stage, make up the background of the performances. The atmosphere is particularly impressive during the full moon or under the light of the projectors. This theatre, completed in 1977, can hold up to 600 people. Underneath the stage, facing North, West and ticketing offices and handicraft exhibition rooms for the various regencies of the island.
To the west of Ardha Candra Amphitheater is the Ksirarnawa closed theatre, which occupies a 5850 square meter surface on two floors. The theatre can contain up to 800 people, which is located on the second floor. The first one is occupied by the offices of the Art Center, a cafeteria, and several is also used for various handicraft exhibitions, the turn over of which is increasing from year to year, and they play a large role in the increase in non oil exports. Visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday.