Twenty years of “blood, sweat and tears” has gifted City of Newcastle (CN) with an amazing windfall.
Independent non-profit organisation Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation presented council, and Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, with a $1.3 million cheque on Tuesday 28 November towards the expansion of the Cooks Hill facility.
The milestone payment was drawn from the Art Gallery Redevelopment Fund, which consists of money raised by the community and held in trust by the group on behalf of CN since 2013.
And, through careful investment, the coffers had grown from $1 million to $1.6 million.
Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation chair Susan Galwey said the financial gesture signified a momentous occasion.
“This cheque represents two decades of passion, advocacy and fundraising for a world-class gallery for Newcastle and the Hunter,” she explained.
“In particular, the community’s efforts through the many Lady Mayoress Dinners led by Cathy Tate OAM and a dedicated organising committee, along with support from local businesses and individual donors.
“The remaining $300,000 will be held in the Art Gallery Redevelopment Fund for future payments as construction objectives are achieved.”
Long time-advocate for the expansion and the wife of former Lord Mayor John Tate, Cathy Tate OAM, admitted she was thrilled to see the funds finally helping achieve the important project for the community.
“I am delighted that the Newcastle Art Gallery development is finally happening,” she said.
“We are fortunate to have the best regional collection in Australia, which will now have the home it deserves.
“I’m overjoyed to hand over this cheque that embodies the support and determination of all who maintained the dream and raised funds to bring the expansion to life.”
Cr Nelmes thanked the organisation for its foresight… and benevolence.
“Since being established in 1977, the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation has played a valuable role in supporting the centre and the growth of its collection,” she said.
“Council will continue to work with it as our shared dream for the premises becomes a reality through the long-awaited expansion.
“The project will double its size and allow more of its nationally-significant collection to be displayed to the public each year.”
Newcastle Art Gallery director Lauretta Morton OAM agreed.
“This is such an important day in the history of our much-loved gallery,” she said.
“I have witnessed first-hand the impact of the fundraising efforts of the foundation.
“It’s been made possible through the incredible generosity of our community and donors over many years working together.”
Ms Galwey added the foundation had so far secured philanthropic donations and pledges totalling $12 million, with a further $1 million being sought to achieve its $13 million goal.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of a huge step forward for arts and culture in Newcastle and the Hunter,” she said.
“I encourage everyone to get involved as we move closer to the completion of construction, which is scheduled for late 2024.”
Donations to the Newcastle Art Gallery expansion can be made on the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation website at www.nagfoundation.org.au
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