Central Goldfields Art Gallery (CGAG) collection safeguarding, exhibition and accessibility upgrade.
Grant amount: $355,215
The RCAP grant funding was perfect timing for Central Goldfields Art Gallery (CGAG) through providing essential funding to upgrade gallery collection storage, exhibition capabilities and facility requirements as part of the recent major redevelopment of the gallery. These upgrades have achieved in aligning collection facility, storage and exhibition upgrades with National Standards for Museums and Galleries.
Identified works unable to be funded through State and local Government investment in the CGAG redevelopment meant that additional funding needed to be found. While the redevelopment resulted in the creation of a collection store, there was no funding for the fit out including essential storage racks and shelving. Security systems needed to be upgraded and along with the upgrade of spaces and infrastructure to complete the redevelopment, capacity to present artwork to meet contemporary display standards was critical. The need for internal walls over the existing brick walls of the fire station was a long-standing goal, along with the aspiration to purchase industry standard (and beautiful) display cases. The purchase of a Work Assist Vehicle to support installation, including the capacity to display works at height from the newly exposed 19th century beams was a key piece of equipment to build our exhibition display capacities.
We were overjoyed to hear news of our funding success! A project plan was devised, updated quotes were sought and a prioritised list of projects was made. The funding enabled us to get the new roof and guttering replaced within the overall gallery redevelopment building works. And likewise the building works synchronised to enable the realisation of our aspiration for new internal walls, upgraded CCTV and alarm system.
Understandably there were changes in some prices for quotes received on items needed to submit our RCAP grant application so we prioritised our needs and revised our budget.
We achieved all of the major infrastructure works identified in our grant application and purchased exhibition and installation equipment. We were able to save some budget by refurbishing existing gallery plinths internally in order to work to the gallery funding we had received.
The redevelopment of CGAG has been transformative. The Gallery’s redesign is currently featured in the ‘Unsettlingly Queenstown’ exhibition in the Australian Pavilion at the 18th Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy.
The Gallery is now fully accessible and the collection storage, display and environmental conditions have now been brought up to an equally high standard.
The CGAG building (and soon to be associated Indigenous Interpretative Garden) is quickly becoming a drawcard in its own right. Visitor numbers are approximately double what they were for a comparative period prior to the redevelopment. Contributing factors include the local community’s excitement and the growing profile across the region due to the Gallery’s stunning transformation, as well as the increased capacity through redesigned and extended exhibition spaces to increase the range, quality and diversity of visual arts that can be presented in the Gallery.
Feedback from the local community has been how immensely proud they are of their Gallery, its redevelopment and its ability to support their quality of life.
“… fabulous new space! Natural light so good. A natural asset for our town and shire.”
The redevelopment has given the Gallery new opportunities to present a greater variety of leading artists and exhibitions in a “state of the art” gallery for the community and the wider region (and the ability to borrow works and touring exhibitions from other cultural institutions now that it has added security and upgraded climate control). The Gallery has already been able to organise a touring exhibition from the National Gallery of Australia (Terminus: Jess Johnson and Simon Ward) which is scheduled to open on 24 August 2023.
The redevelopment has enabled us to have dedicated spaces and display cases for items from our permanent collection to be appropriately displayed and stored. Our collections store is now viewable from the public gallery spaces through a large glazed access door and an additional glass window, this augments the visitor experience highlighting some of the items that are currently in storage and viewing the back-of-house workings as part of the Gallery’s exhibition offerings.
Working collaboratively and in partnership on the RCAP project has been key to our project success. Our Mayor and Councillors are proud of the redevelopment. We worked collaboratively with council colleagues across different departments from procurement, infrastructure, finance and communications on this project that all brought expertise into achieving the project outcomes. There is also shared pride and understanding across the council in what has been achieved. We have also been grateful for the guidance and advice always received grant personnel at Australian Museums and Galleries Association Victoria and the Public Galleries Association of Victoria as well as the learnings shared with colleagues from other public art galleries guiding us on our project area needs.
“Congratulations! The Gallery is stunning. Well done!”
“What an uplifting experience the gallery is. Beautiful space, great work – well worth a visit. Loved it!
“The redevelopment of the building is very well done, with respect for its history but also providing excellent gallery spaces. Also lovely exhibitions.”
A beautiful new welcoming space. A pleasure to visit. Thank you.
Just amazing! I will highly recommend to friends and family.
Overwhelmingly the feedback has been very positive from locals and from visitors to the region.
There has been extensive community engagement in the development of the Gallery's Draft Strategic Plan. We have heard that people are excited by the Gallery and that it is important for the Gallery to connect with local people and local artists. There is a strong interest in programs and education for all levels of the community as well as interest in viewing more of the permanent collection.
The redevelopment has renewed community interest in the Gallery and the media resulting in growing visitation to this area and a revitalised cultural asset within the arts and cultural landscape of Central Victoria.
The redevelopment has enabled us to be a more innovative and inclusive public gallery for the people of Central Goldfields Shire and surrounding region that will engage, inspire and challenge our visitors through a broader selection of visual arts exhibitions and programs.
Various community groups have and want to continue engage in activities in our new Gallery spaces. We are beginning to increase the youth sector engagement in the arts in this way. We can now be more open to non-traditional uses of Gallery spaces.
Visitor statistics: Visitation to the gallery has increased considerably compared to prior to the redevelopment project and prior to Covid restrictions. At this stage, visitation numbers are approximately double what they were for a similar period prior to redevelopment.
The Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV) acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the lands where our office is located, and all Traditional Owners of country throughout Victoria and Australia. We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples enduring traditions and continuing creative cultures. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging.