Booming population growth is creating a strong demand for modern arts and cultural facilities in the G21 region.
The implementation of the Cultural Precinct Master Plan is well underway, however funding is still required to fully realise stage 3 of the Arts Centre’s master plan, to redevelop the Geelong Gallery and for work on the public realm.
Geelong Gallery is respected nationwide as one of the leading – and oldest – regional galleries in Victoria. Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 Geelong Gallery demonstrated consistently strong growth in attendance and audience engagement over the previous five years, with visitation tripling during this period. In 2017-18 with the hosting of the 2017 Archibald Prize, the Gallery attracted 117,000 visitors. The Gallery presented the Archibald Prize again in 2018, and in 2018-19, welcomed 160,000 visitors. The economic impact of the Archibald Prize in Geelong over the two-year period was $14.25 million. With expanded and upgraded facilities the Gallery would attract 200,000 visitors annually.
The Gallery’s ambition to contribute more to Geelong’s ‘clever and creative’ economic and cultural renewal is seriously restricted by a lack of adequate space for ambitiously scaled, drawcard exhibitions. Restricted space limits display and constrains storage of what is regarded as a nationally important collection owned by the people of Geelong.
The redevelopment of Geelong Gallery through a significant expansion into the Geelong Town Hall would present a new model of a regional art museum for the 21st century: it would be a cultural, learning and social space that honours the civic and ceremonial heritage of the Town Hall.
Geelong Gallery’s proposed expansion is central to the completion of Geelong’s Cultural Precinct Masterplan, that has seen the successful redevelopment of the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre, and the Geelong Arts Centre. Expanded facilities for the Gallery will embed large scale, popular and drawcard exhibitions, providing significant tourism and economic outcomes for the G21 region as part of Geelong Gallery’s core business. Expanded facilities will importantly build on Geelong Gallery’s already demonstrable capacity to help lead Geelong’s UNESCO City of Design designation. The Gallery’s proposed expansion will double its current footprint, gaining an extra 3200m2.
The completion of Geelong Arts Centre and redevelopment of the Geelong Gallery is a critical element of the Revitalising Central Geelong Action Plan, which will regenerate of Geelong’s Central Business District.
Joel McGuinness, Chief Executive Officer, Geelong Arts Centre.
Jason Smith, Director, Geelong Gallery.
The implementation of the Cultural Precinct Master Plan is well underway.
Refurbishment of the Old Courthouse Building was completed in 2011 and the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre opened in late 2015. The Ryrie Street works for the Geelong Arts Centre (Arts Centre) was finished in late 2019, while the Little Malop Street redevelopment will commence in 2020.
Funding is still required to:
- complete the stage 3 renovation at the Geelong Arts Centre
- expand the Geelong Gallery.
BENEFITS FOR VICTORIA AND THE G21 REGION
The Geelong Cultural Precinct will:
- inject over $30 million to Gross Regional Product annually and increase local output by more than $65 million annually (direct and indirect impacts)
- create around 390 local ongoing jobs after completion and support almost 700 Victorian jobs during construction (direct and indirect jobs)
- enhance the liveability of the G21 region, providing a cultural imperative for business and potential residents to relocate to the region
- improve access to and participation in the arts; a redeveloped Geelong Gallery has the potential to attract up to 200,000 visitors annually
- create a unique and distinctive artistic facility that will attract both domestic and international tourists
- create a home for artists and creative industries to work and create Geelong cultural exports.
WHAT HAS BEEN COMMITTED
The state government has committed:
- $7.9 million to develop the final Business Cases for the Geelong Arts Centre and the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre together with the Old Courthouse Building refurbishment.
- $128 million towards the Geelong Arts Centre Little Malop Street redevelopment (Stage 3 of master plan).
- $37 million towards Geelong Arts Centre Ryrie Street redevelopment (Stage 2 of master plan).
- $6.3 million to keep the Geelong Arts Centre’s programming continuing during upgrade works.
- $3 million towards Geelong Arts Centre’s Playhouse refurbishment (Stage 1 of master plan).
- $15 million towards the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre redevelopment.
The federal government has committed:
- $10 million towards the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre redevelopment.
- $5 million towards streetscape upgrades within the Arts and Cultural Precinct (via Geelong City Deal).
WHAT IS REQUIRED
- $150,000 for a Business Case investigating the expansion of Geelong Gallery into the Geelong Town Hall. Investment is confirmed by City of Greater Geelong and Geelong Gallery.
- $90 million to redevelop Geelong Gallery. Investment will also be required by the City of Greater Geelong and Geelong Gallery.
- $28 million towards Stage 3 of the Geelong Arts Centre Master Plan to fully realise the master plan’s intention.
- Funding for streetscape upgrades within the Arts and Cultural Precinct.
A commitment to embed GROW training, employment and procurement principles in all government projects within the region.