City of Newcastle takes next step towards expansion of Newcastle Art Gallery

16 Dec 2022

City of Newcastle will invite tenders next month for the construction of Newcastle Art Gallery's $40 million expansion, as work continues on grouting the historic mine tunnels 80 metres below the building.

Four companies have been shortlisted for the project following an expression of interest process and will be invited to submit tenders in January, with construction scheduled to begin mid-2023.

Early works are continuing to progress at the Newcastle Art Gallery site, with almost 70 bores drilled and more than 1,500 cubic metres of grout successfully placed to date in the Borehole Seam.

The mine remediation is scheduled to continue until mid next year in line with the approved Grouting and Verification Plan, with the NSW Government's Newcastle Mines Grouting Fund contributing towards the cost of this work.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it was pleasing to see the much-anticipated project progressing towards a key milestone, which will see a tender awarded for the main construction work.

"After more than 16 years of effort to make this project a reality, we are finally seeing real progress to deliver an expanded and upgraded Art Gallery of international standing, which will become a fitting home for our nationally significant $126 million collection," Cr Nelmes said.

"By doubling the size of the Gallery and significantly increasing the exhibition space to display works of art of local, national and international importance, this project will launch a new era of cultural tourism that will consolidate the Hunter's reputation as an active and vibrant centre for the arts in NSW."

Cr Nelmes said all works of art have been professionally moved to a safe and secure offsite location, and Art Gallery staff have also relocated to City of Newcastle's Administration Centre at 12 Stewart Avenue ahead of the construction work.

Once complete, the expanded Newcastle Art Gallery will extend the building's footprint east along Darby Street and Queen Street and will include a new café and retail shop, multi-purpose and educational program space, and a secure international standard loading dock.

Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon welcomed the progress of the expansion project.

“Like all Novocastrians, I am delighted to see progress being made on this important project for our region," Ms Claydon said.

"The Newcastle Art Gallery has been at the centre of our city’s rich cultural history for over 45 years and this expansion project will ensure its future is assured.”

The $40 million project is supported by $5 million from the Australian Government under the Regional Recovery Partnerships program and $5 million from the New South Wales Government, as well as a $10 million bequest from Valerie Ryan and $500,000 in funding from the Margaret Olley Art Trust through the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation.

Additional fundraising by the Art Gallery Foundation is ongoing to help reduce the cost to ratepayers.