Council commits funds to Bendigo Art Gallery expansion

Bendigo Art Gallery is poised for a transformation that will set it on a par with its national and international contemporaries and make it a place for all people.

Greater Bendigo City Council has committed $3M towards the project, which has also secured $2.5M in funding from the Bendigo Art Gallery board. The City of Greater Bendigo will now seek to raise up to $21M through funding commitments from the Victorian and Australian Governments, as well as seek $1.5M in philanthropic donations to complete the $28M project.

Mayor Cr Dr Jennifer Alden said a world-class expansion would be designed to ensure the Gallery’s continued reputation as a place to be inspired, to learn and to connect with history, and drive continued economic success for Greater Bendigo and the wider region.

“Leading art institutions around the world are known for offering dynamic, vibrant and engaging spaces and opportunities that enhance their communities,” Cr Alden said.

“We know the Gallery is a major tourism drawcard and the planned expansion will continue to build on its incredible success, allowing it to host more major exhibitions, more often and provide indoor and outdoor community spaces for people to enjoy.

“The City will also use this opportunity to develop an environmentally sustainable building that improves its overall operational functionality.

“The expansion project is a priority for the City and we will continue to engage with local members to attract the funds needed to complete our vision for the site.”

The expansion is expected to generate approximately 100 jobs during the peak of construction and once operating will create up to 95 full time jobs in the local economy.

Bendigo Art Gallery Director Jessica Bridgfoot said the Gallery was founded in 1887 on the motto ‘Art for the People’ and more than 130 years later the saying remained a key focus for the institution.

“Our vision is to be one of Australia’s leading galleries, recognised nationally and internationally for its creative, cultural, social and economic success,” Ms Bridgfoot said.

“The expansion will provide opportunities for families, students and people of all ages to connect, engage, explore and learn through the arts, and support Indigenous recognition and reconciliation. It will be the People’s Gallery.

“The project will also consolidate the Gallery’s position as an iconic, contemporary arts destination and ensure it remains competitive in the popular arts tourism market.

“Gallery exhibitions and associated cultural events and activities have a critical role in bringing people to the region, encouraging people to stay longer.

“We look forward to delivering a project that will help to maximise investment in our community and deliver exciting cultural experiences for decades to come.”

The project will deliver:

  • A major new Learning Centre and children’s/family gallery
  • Flexible and dedicated blockbuster exhibition space
  • Expanded gallery spaces for free and collection-based exhibitions
  • Place of Keeping dedicated to Dja Dja Wurrung cultural collection
  • Retail space
  • Forecourt/landscaping on View Street, including public seating for informal gathering, events and Dja Dja Wurrung cultural learning
  • Updated cafe
  • Office space, front desk and cloaking facilities
  • Accessible bathroom facilities
  • Sustainable solutions to significantly reduce the building’s energy footprint and ongoing running costs

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