Sneak Peek Inside Expanded Newcastle Art Gallery

City of Newcastle

City of Newcastle is giving Novocastrians their first look inside the expanded Newcastle Art Gallery as construction progresses on the landmark project.

Artist's impressions and an animated flythrough of the Art Gallery's new interior reveal a grand new entry, sleek, modern aesthetic, light-filled rooms and an expansive range of exhibition spaces that demonstrate just how fantastic the expanded Gallery will be.

An artist's impression of one of the first floor gallery spaces, with John Olsen 'The sea sun of 5 bells' artwork on the ceiling.An artist's impression of one of the first floor gallery spaces, with John Olsen 'The sea sun of 5 bells' artwork on the ceiling.

Digital versions of artworks from the Gallery's extensive collection help bring the new spaces to life, including the renowned The sea sun of 5 bells work by Newcastle's own John Olsen, which will once again hang proudly on the ceiling at the top of a soaring double-height void.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it is wonderful to get a glimpse of what the community can look forward to once the long-awaited expansion is complete.

"The Newcastle Art Gallery will deliver a significant cultural tourism opportunity for NSW, providing greater access to one of Australia's most significant public collections of art and a wider range of prominent local, national and international exhibitions," Cr Nelmes said.

"By extending the building's footprint east along Darby Street and Queen Street, we're able to more than double the size of the Gallery with new exhibition space, a suite of modern facilities, and for the first time in the Gallery's history, a permanent cafe that will complement and enhance the experience for visitors from near and far to this landmark cultural facility.

"After more than a decade of advocacy to make the expansion a reality, it's amazing to watch the new Art Gallery taking shape with work progressing well on site, while the animated flythrough allows us to step inside and get a feel of what awaits once we can welcome our community back into their reimagined space."

Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation Chair Suzie Galwey said excitement was building amongst its members and donors, with the presentation of a cheque for $4.55 million to Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen for the expansion.

"It is the largest payment by the Foundation to date and brings our total contribution to 50 percent of our $13 million funding target, in line with the construction milestone," Ms Galwey said.

"This cheque represents many years of philanthropic giving, community passion, advocacy and fundraising for a world class gallery for Newcastle and the Hunter.

"It's wonderful to celebrate this milestone payment as we get our first look at what we can expect inside this flagship cultural asset.

"The Foundation thanks its members and donors for their generosity and unwavering support for this project over many years. We believe these images will inspire additional excitement and community support as the Foundation works towards its ambitious $13 million philanthropic goal."

An artist's impression of the aerial view of the expanded Newcastle Art Gallery.An artist's impression of the aerial view of the expanded Newcastle Art Gallery.

Construction is moving forward on site following extensive site preparation and mine grouting works, with the ground floor slabs for the new Gallery spaces and cafe now complete.

The ground floor and basement columns are progressing alongside the installation of the shear walls, which will provide the structural support needed for the new building.

The suspended slab formwork and reinforcement works are already helping to illustrate the impressive scale of the expanded Gallery.

The structure surrounding two new passenger lifts and a goods hoist are being formed up and poured on site. Sparkles, the 33 metre tall hammerhead tower crane named by five-year-old Mabel Read as part of a community competition, has also been hard at work lifting and moving hundreds of tonnes of reinforcing mesh and structural steel needed during construction.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said the project will allow for an enhanced Gallery experience.

"With an additional 1,600 square meters of exhibition space, we will be able to provide dedicated areas on the lower level for our collection, while also being able to welcome some of the best touring exhibitions into our first floor galleries," Cr Clausen said.

"The multi-purpose and educational program space will also expand and enhance the way our community interacts with and experiences all our Art Gallery has to offer."

The Newcastle Art Gallery expansion project is supported by $5 million from the Australian Government under the Regional Recovery Partnerships and $5 million from the New South Wales Government under the Regional Recovery Package, as well as $12 million from the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation made possible through the Valerie and John Ryan bequest, Margaret Olley Trust, and community fundraising over many years. A further $1 million is currently being sought through the Foundation's public fundraising campaign.

The Regional Recovery Partnerships initiative seeks to broker connections between all levels of government to increase information flow, share technical expertise and strengthen regional development outcomes.

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