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Artists make their mark on Newcastle Art Gallery expansion 

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Its doors may be temporarily closed to visitors but that hasn’t stopped Newcastle Art Gallery bringing art to the city.

It recently commissioned new works to be displayed on the construction fencing around the site.

More than 300 artists from across Australia put their names forward to take part in the street hoarding commission project.

And, Newcastle’s Izabela Pluta was one of four chosen to have their work presented.

Proud Yuwi man Dylan Mooney from Brisbane and Sydney-based artists Diana Baker-Smith and Agus Wijaya will also be showcased during the construction phase of the art gallery’s major expansion.

Each artist is producing a striking new work for the street hoarding, working closely with the curatorial and exhibitions team to develop their ideas.

Newcastle Art Gallery director Lauretta Morton OAM said the selection panel was very impressed with the calibre and diversity of the artists’ proposals.

“Those selected captured themes of renewal, change and anticipation through photography, drawing, painting, text and digital illustration,” she explained.

“They’ll be digitally-reproduced and presented on the temporary street hoarding that will be erected around the art gallery site in coming months by Hansen Yuncken, who were awarded the contract for the main construction works by City of Newcastle in April.”

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the prolific interest in the EOI process was testament to the city’s reputation as an active and vibrant centre for the arts.

“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,” she stated.

“This esteem will grow further as we progress with our long-awaited gallery expansion.

“In the meantime, the hoarding commission project offers a unique opportunity for audiences to enjoy new site-specific works of art made by these four well-regarded contemporary Australian artists, which will also help to improve the external view of this work zone in the heart of our city.”

The art gallery expansion recently reached another milestone, with remediation of the historic mine tunnels, 80 metres below the building, now complete.

About 13,500 cubic metres of grout, which is equivalent to five-and-a-half Olympic-size swimming pools, was successfully placed in the Dudley and Borehole seams to ensure the safety of the site ahead of the main expansion works, made possible with the support of the Newcastle Mines Grouting Fund.

Construction is scheduled for completion in late 2024. 

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