Councillors will consider a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the City of Newcastle and the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation at tonight's Council meeting, which outlines the organisations' shared commitment to the expansion project and the future of the cultural landmark.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the MoU was another milestone on the road towards the $35.6 million expansion of the Gallery, which would double its size and allow significantly more of its collection to be displayed to the public each year.
"Since being established in 1977, the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation has played a valuable role in supporting the Gallery and the growth of its collection, having contributed to the acquisition of more than 335 art works," Cr Nelmes said.
"Its members are passionate about the future of the Gallery and are dedicated to increasing access to the 7,000 works it holds.
"City of Newcastle's planned expansion project will achieve this aim, providing an additional 1,600 square meters of exhibition space including dedicated areas for the Gallery's collection on the lower level, while the upper level will cater for a variety of travelling exhibitions, including international shows.
"City of Newcastle has committed a further to $12.6 million towards the project, while the Foundation has pledged $10 million. The MoU also includes a commitment by the Foundation to raise an additional $2.5 million through fundraising towards the expansion of the Gallery.
"As this revised Memorandum of Understanding affirms, we will continue to work together to ensure our shared dream for the Gallery becomes a reality."
Members of the Foundation's Board unanimously endorsed the revised MoU at a meeting last week, and Cr Nelmes said she hoped this would be followed by a similar show of unanimous support from Councillors this evening.
The MoU recognises the historical and cultural importance of the Gallery as custodian of the most valuable art collection in regional Australia, which presents a comprehensive overview of Australian art from colonial times to the present day and is worth $115 million.
It also acknowledges the work undertaken by City of Newcastle and the Foundation to preserve and promote the Gallery and reaffirms the Foundation’s commitment to support and protect it for the enjoyment of future generations.
Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation Chair Suzie Galwey said the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with City of Newcastle will underpin further efforts to support the Gallery’s expansion.
“The Foundation is proud to contribute $10 million to the gallery expansion, made possible through generous contributions from the community and supporters over many years,” Ms Galwey said.
“The MoU between the City of Newcastle and the Foundation also provides certainty and assurance to future donors before committing contributions to the project.
“The MoU outlines how the major funding partners will work together, as well as the Foundation’s aspiration to raise an additional $2.5 million. By aligning this target with the City’s commitment, the Foundation is in a strong position to approach existing and new donors to secure the remaining funds needed to complete the expanded gallery.
“The MoU with the City will both guide and bolster our ongoing efforts to demonstrate how important Newcastle Art Gallery is to the community.”
The City of Newcastle is awaiting a determination from the Federal Government in regard to an application for $10 million in funding towards the project from its Recovering Regions program, which would allow the expansion to immediately commence.