Council to consider report on Bendigo Art Gallery expansion and investment

A report recommending Greater Bendigo City Council endorse a business case for the planned expansion of Bendigo Art Gallery and allocate funds to facilitate the project will be considered at the October Council meeting.

The report recognises the expansion project is a priority project and requires an allocation of $3M by the City of Greater Bendigo towards construction. The City has already received $280,000 to be put towards design preparations to get the project ‘shovel-ready’.

Overall, the project is expected to cost $28M to deliver (including a $3M contingency), with funds to also come from Bendigo Art Gallery Board – $2.5M, philanthropic donations – up to $1.5M and Victorian/Australian governments – up to $21M shared cost.

Bendigo Art Gallery has a vision to be one of Australia’s leading galleries, recognised for its work both domestically and internationally, and to continue to contribute to the creative, cultural, social and economic success of Greater Bendigo and Victoria.

The report notes the expansion is needed to secure the gallery’s long-term viability and maintain its position as a leading regional gallery in Australia, while also making a positive contribution to COVID-19 economic recovery during construction and ongoing operation of a larger facility, allowing it to stage more blockbuster exhibitions and deliver diverse programs that boost tourism and regional visitation.

The business case delivered three different options for development, along with a modified option, Option 4, which became the preferred option that would deliver important gallery and cultural elements and realise the goals of the expansion without becoming too expensive, both in development and long-term management of the expanded building.

It is expected the project would deliver a range of new features, many of which have a focus on enhancing the community’s engagement with the Gallery, making it a gallery for the people:

  • 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

The project would be expected to provide $20M in direct local economic stimulus during construction and up to 100 full time jobs. It would also create approximately 90 full time ongoing jobs in the local economy.


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