Important repairs, upgrades for gallery

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The Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery is set to receive $1.7 million in much-needed repairs and upgrades after Councillors made the difficult decision to close the facility for six months from September.

The gallery roof needs to be completely replaced due to hail damage, and Council will take advantage of the construction period to also carry out a complete floor replacement, repairs to walls, and the installation of a new humidifier and air conditioning.

Councillors voted in favour of closing the gallery at tonight’s Council meeting, with Council’s General Manager, Jay Nankivell, saying the closure was in line with Council’s commitment to improved maintainance of infrastructure moving forward.

“This work needs to be undertaken to protect our collection and we want to get it done as soon as possible to prevent any further complications,” said Mr Nankivell.

“In order to replace the roof we have to remove all artworks and put them in safe storage which will be a long and delicate process.

“While our artworks are stored away it’s important that we undertake all other necessary works on the building in order to prevent multiple future closures.

“The floor replacement is particularly urgent. The floors weren’t included in the original refurbishment of the Sully’s building back in 2003, and in some areas of the building the floorboards have now rotted through.”

Mr Nankivell said the aim was to complete the majority of the work across the hot summer months to minimise the impact on tourism.

“There’s never a good time to close a gallery as important as ours, but if all goes to plan we should be open again for the 2022 tourism season.”

“Under the proposed timeframe we’ll still be open for the Mundi Mundi Bash in August 2021, and we’ll be aiming to reopen in time for St Pats in 2022.”

To help offset the impact of the gallery’s closure, Council will operate a smaller gallery in the hall at the rear of the GeoCentre, and rent a shop front in Town Square for community workshops, retail sales, and other gallery programs.

The total refurbishment is estimated at $1.7 million, and will be funded through Council’s insurance and budget. Funding applications have also been lodged to help offset the cost.

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