The NSW Government’s $244 million funding commitment to support the expansion of the Art Gallery of New South Wales will transform the much-loved and historic Gallery into one of the world’s greatest art museums.
Welcoming the landmark announcement made by Arts Minister Don Harwin, Art Gallery of NSW director Dr Michael Brand said he was delighted with the funds.
The expansion will significantly increase space for the Gallery to exhibit art, and is expected to attract two million visitors annually.
“This is a remarkable day for the Gallery and the Australian arts community,” Dr Brand said.
“Our expanded Gallery will deliver an iconic building that combines art, architecture and landscape in an extraordinary way, and in one of the most breathtaking locations in the world,” Dr Brand added.
Combined with government funds of $244 million, the Art Gallery of NSW capital campaign, to be officially launched later in 2017, will raise $100 million in philanthropic support for the project of which $70 million has been pledged.
The expansion will see more of the Gallery’s iconic collection, worth $1.3 billion, on display.
It will improve significantly the State’s ability to attract more major international art exhibitions to NSW.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art will be front and centre in the expanded Gallery, showcased and celebrated with the prominence it deserves.
The Sydney Modern Project will deliver wider economic benefit to the NSW economy of over $1 billion over the next 25 years and the creation of up to 242 full-time jobs in NSW.
Art Gallery of NSW President of the Board, David Gonski AC, said the extraordinarily generous public and private financial support the Gallery has received to date is testament to the value and importance placed on an expanded State art museum for NSW.
“This decision by the NSW Government is to be applauded and its merit, in my opinion, will be seen and enjoyed by generations to come,” Mr Gonski said.
The expansion will deliver an architectural landmark by Pritzker Prize-winning architects, SANAA.
The Gallery has worked with SANAA for the past two years to evolve the design concept.
The design concept will continue to be refined until the planned submission of a State Significant Development Application.
Major construction of the project will commence in 2019 with the expansion due for completion in 2021, in time for the 150th anniversary of the Gallery’s founding in 1871.