Premier's funding pledge to build $31.5m Rocky Art Gallery
THE State Government will today announce a commitment of $8 million over two years to support a new $31.5 million art gallery in Rockhampton.
As flagged in The Morning Bulletin last month, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has come good on her pledge "to do everything we can" to help Rockhampton build a stunning three-storey modern art gallery to sit alongside the heritage-listed Customs House overlooking the Fitzroy River.
"Rockhampton's art collection is one of the best in the world and it deserves a world class gallery that will attract art lovers from all over the world," the Premier said in a statement to the Bulletin late yesterday.
The funding is, however, subject to a $10 million contribution from the Federal Government.
The $8 million contribution follows the state's $2 million investment in 2017-18 towards initial planning for the Rockhampton Art Gallery's relocation.
The new gallery would have the ability to host national exhibitions and include a space dedicated to the nationally significant 1500-piece Rex Pilbeam collection, now worth $14 million.
Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said the project was part of the changing face of Rockhampton.
"The plans to relocate the gallery to become part of a new cultural hub in the Rockhampton CBD means the gallery will be front and centre in a changing cityscape," Ms Trad said.
Member for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke said a new cultural hub would deliver significant benefits to the Rockhampton community.
"This is a key infrastructure project that will grow the local arts sector, generate jobs for artists, arts workers and the local construction industry and attract more tourism expenditure in the region," he said.
Mr O'Rourke said the Rockhampton Art Gallery had played a leading role in the story of the city for more than half a century.
"The successful and well-loved Rockhampton Art Gallery is the only regional gallery in Australia to hold a representative collection of the 'greats' of the Australian modern and contemporary periods with work from artists John Brack, Arthur Boyd, Russell Drysdale, Sidney Nolan, Jeffrey Smart and Margaret Olley."
Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch called on the Federal Government to "support the growth of one of Australia's leading regional galleries, with this new state funding subject to the confirmation of a $10 million contribution from the Commonwealth".
"We strongly support the plans to relocate the gallery as part of a broader strategy to revitalise the city centre and provide opportunities for local businesses," she said.
Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry (LNP) has previously stated her support for the project.
"I think that as a region we certainly have missed out on a lot of major art displays and programs that could benefit students," she said in a Morning Bulletin report on the proposed art gallery last year.
"Down in Canberra, they have all these magnificent art displays and I think it would be fabulous if we could get those shows in Rockhampton.
"I'm very impressed with (the gallery design) and, the more I've seen of it, the more I think it is wonderful.
"I think it would certainly be an asset for the whole precinct."
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said yesterday a new world-class art gallery would deliver a comprehensive program of events.
"This is an active, vibrant and inclusive space for the local community and visitors to enjoy," she said.