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Art lovers' $2m glee at gallery relocation funding

SPACE FOR COLLECTION: Rockhampton Art Gallery Trust past chair Merilyn Luck OAM with Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne and Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow and the portrait of former Rockhampton mayor Rex Pilbeam inside the gallery's collection vault which will be all on public display at the new gallery.
SPACE FOR COLLECTION: Rockhampton Art Gallery Trust past chair Merilyn Luck OAM with Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne and Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow and the portrait of former Rockhampton mayor Rex Pilbeam inside the gallery's collection vault which will be all on public display at the new gallery. Contributed

SHE might be new to the area, but Rockhampton Art Gallery director, Bianca Acimovic has joined a group of people rubbing their hands with glee this week.

Ms Acimovic joined Art Gallery Trust chair Dr Leonie Gray, past chair Merilyn Luck OAM and Rockhampton mayor, Margaret Strelow when they received the news from Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne that the State Government had allocated $2 million as a down payment towards the $16 million relocation project.

"This is incredible - the State Government support,” Ms Acimovic said.

"I've been fortunate to be part of two to three redevelopments before. This is the most significant contribution that I have seen from a State level at this stage of the project.

"It's great to be on a project like this. The vision of the mayor's is incredible and I think we will see a big change in Rockhampton in the coming years.”

The Rockhampton Regional Council proposes to relocate the Rockhampton Art Gallery down Quay St, to the former SGIO building next to Customs House, in a bigger and more attractive location.

The proposal includes a gallery big enough for the city's extensive art collection, most of which was the result of iconic former Rockhampton mayor Rex Pilbeam's exhaustive search and funding success.

The new location will also mean extra space, with the building set to feature three two storey galleries and two single storey galleries which will allow more flexibility in hosting exhibitions.

Mrs Luck said it was remarkable that this was finally happening.

She said she believed the new gallery would bring Rockhampton to the forefront of cultural tourism as the collection was, she considered, the best on the Australian seaboard.

"It needs to be on the show board for everyone to see,” she said.

Mr Byrne said it had been a long held vision for him personally to do something about displaying the full collection belonging to the the Rockhampton Art Gallery.

”What we see is a down payment in many respects of $2 million to enable the collection to be relocated much closer to the Riverbank and much closer to what I think will be a very, very fantastic revitalised CBD,” he said.

"It is one of the most fantastic and comprehensive collections in regional Australia.

"It will become a draw card for arts tourism.”

Topics:  art bill byrne margaret strelow merilyn luck rockhampton art gallery state budget 2017



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