Gallery takes art to the community as expansion continues

04 Mar 2024

Art and storytelling of two local artists have launched a new year of off-site programming for Newcastle Art Gallery as the expansion of the cultural institution continues to progress.

Newcastle artist Izabela Pluta is helping transform the exterior of the construction site with a new work of art commissioned as part of the Gallery's street hoarding project, while locally-based artist Lottie Consalvo shares insights into her career as part of the Gallery’s second podcast series, Conversations from the Collection.

Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton, artist Izabela Pluta and Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes in front of Izabela's artwork on the construction hoarding around the Gallery.Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton, artist Izabela Pluta and Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes in front of Izabela's artwork on the construction hoarding around the Gallery.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said these projects provide opportunities for the community to stay connected with Newcastle Art Gallery and its nationally significant collection.

"Newcastle Art Gallery is held in high regard in the Australian arts community, home to a nationally significant collection worth more than $126 million and with an award-winning artistic program," Cr Nelmes said.

"This esteem will grow further as we progress with our long-awaited Gallery expansion project, which will double the size of the Gallery and significantly increase the exhibition space to display artworks of local, national and international importance.

"In the meantime, however, it is important to give our community as many avenues as possible to stay connected to the Gallery, whether that is through works of art being displayed on the temporary construction hoarding, or by learning more about artists featured in our collection through the second season of the podcast series."

Pluta's work of art can be seen on the construction hoarding that runs along Laman Street, while proud Yuwi man Dylan Mooney from Brisbane has his work of art displayed along Darby Street.

Sydney-based artists Diana Baker-Smith and Agus Wijaya will also have their works of art on show to passers-by later this year, with the four artists selected from more than 300 applications from across Australia during an expressions of interest process last year.

The Gallery's temporary street hoarding commission project is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.

NSW State Minister for the Arts Hon. John Graham MLC said we are lucky to live in NSW, a state rich in creativity. 

"The state’s first arts, culture and creative industries policy commits the government to advocating for the value of culture, to enabling and investing in culture with the whole of government," Minister Graham said. 
 "The Create NSW funding is just one way the NSW Government is supporting our regional arts, culture and creative industries."

Newcastle Art Gallery has also launched the second season of its Conversations from the Collection podcast, which uncovers the untold stories of six contemporary artists from across Australia who have contributed to the significance of the Gallery's diverse collection.

Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton OAM said she was thrilled to feature internationally-exhibited, Newcastle-based artist Lottie Consalvo in the podcast.

"We can't wait to be able to welcome the community back into our expanded Newcastle Art Gallery, which will significantly increase our capacity to present exhibitions and programming that showcase our incredible collection, while supporting contemporary practice and artists’ groundbreaking ideas that engage and broaden our audience," Ms Morton said.

"The first series of the Gallery's podcast was launched last year as a way to explore our collection through some of the artists featured within it. The podcast was highly regarded, reaching number two in Apple's Australian Visual Arts podcast charts and being used as a learning resource for Hunter-based secondary and tertiary educators.

"We are thrilled to be able to share even more of these artist stories through this second season, which features episodes with Lottie Consalvo, Jemima Wyman, Lindy Lee, Janet Fieldhouse, Owen Leong and Tina Havelock Stevens."

The six-part podcast is now available via the Gallery website and on all major podcast listening apps.

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.