A new 270-square-metre contemporary gallery with ground-breaking lighting design, a 74-seat gallery theatre, a new state-of-the-art storage and conservation area and refurbishments to existing spaces are part of the new $5.5 million extension of the Orange Regional Gallery, officially unveiled on Friday.
NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin opened the extension on December 3, marking the completion of the year-long construction project.
Mr Harwin said the state-of-the-art facility will boost economic and employment opportunities while Orange Mayor Reg Kidd said the new-look gallery was one the community was already proud of.
He said there were already plans to deliver around 20 exhibitions in the next two years.
"I'm excited by the potential of the new 74-seat theatrette as an educational and conference resource for the whole community," Cr Kidd said.
"(And) having two large exhibition spaces instead of one means we'll be able to see more of the treasures from the gallery's permanent collection more often, as well as a steady stream of new shows."
The $515,000 community fundraising campaign paid for a number of fit-out elements, including: a locally built timber reception desk, LED lighting in the exhibition spaces, compactus storage and locally manufactured painting store racking and AV equipment for the new gallery theatre.
"I am so grateful for the incredible job done by the community fund-raisers," Cr Kidd added.
"Orange is the community that it is because of community members who care so much, and their can-do attitude."
A new chapter is about to begin in the gallery's history.Orange Regional Gallery Director Bradley Hammond
The gallery extension was funded by the NSW Government's Regional Cultural Fund ($4,052,990) and Orange City Council ($1,000,000) with $515,000 in community contributions going towards design costs and fit out.
"The NSW Government is delighted to have thrown its support behind the Gallery with over $4 million in funding," Mr Harwin said.
"This has facilitated a beautiful space with expanded capacity."
In a sign of the extra capacity of the gallery, four new simultaneous exhibitions will be open in the expanded new building.
The four new exhibitions now on show were also opened on Friday evening by Maud Page, Deputy Director and Director of Collections, Art Gallery of NSW.
Orange Regional Gallery Director Bradley Hammond is excited for the future of the gallery.
"A new chapter is about to begin in the gallery's history which will enable us to present an exciting program of new exhibitions in contemporary spaces designed to provide the optimum environment in which to experience art," Mr Hammond said.
"Additionally we will be able to care for and expand our nationally significant collection in state-of-the-art conservation areas and provided better spaces for education and the sharing of ideas."
The building was constructed by Renascent Regional Pty Ltd. During the project there were 300 workers on site and 90 local businesses were involved.
The extension was designed by Sydney firm Architect Marshall whose previous projects include the extension to the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay (2012) and an extension to Campbelltown Arts Centre (2009).
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