SYDNEY.- The Museum of Contemporary Art
(MCA) has received planning approval from the NSW Government for its $50 million redevelopment on George Street in Sydneys Circular Quay.
Planning Minister, Kristina Keneally, said the redevelopment of the MCA will breathe new life into Australias leading contemporary art gallery and rejuvenate a Sydney tourism drawcard.
This redevelopment will enhance the MCA building and complement one of Australias most important sites, Sydney Harbour, said Ms Keneally.
The redevelopment of the MCA will see the construction of a new contemporary extension to the north of the existing building which will provide a National Centre for Creative Learning, along with revamped and extended gallery spaces and a new fully accessible entrance.
Director of the MCA, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, said the redevelopment is vital to consolidate the MCAs reputation as a leading cultural destination and to contribute to the economy of The Rocks.
We are delighted that our plans for this important and complex site, which have come out of a long process of collaboration with Sydney architect Sam Marshall and consultation with interested stakeholders, has achieved this milestone, Ms Macgregor said.
As the numbers visiting the Museum continue to break records, this expansion is essential. This investment in creative education and teacher training facilities will put the MCA at the forefront of world class arts education delivery though leading edge technology.
Even in this difficult global financial climate, the MCA has already received pledges of over $16 million towards the redevelopment. Together with the $10 million from the State Government and another $1 million pledged by the City of Sydney, we are already more than half way towards turning this plan into a reality.
Ms Keneally said the approval would go a long way to progressing a world class art space for Sydney.
This approval is the product of an extensive assessment process which focused on achieving an exceptional level of design for a building that is, after all, a centre for Australias finest contemporary art, Ms Keneally said.
MCA Foundation Chair Simon Mordant, who has personally pledged $5 million to the project, said: "The receipt of the DA approval is the culmination of a huge amount of work by the MCA team and its consultants. We are well through our half way mark in the fundraising and I hope the DA approval will be a further catalyst to complete the Building Appeal".
The plans respond to the demands of increasing attendances as MCA visitor attendances continuing to break records. More than half a million people now visit MCA exhibitions each year, with a further 100,000 using the buildings popular venue spaces.
Education is a central focus, with the new building housing a National Centre for Creative Learning with workshop spaces for schools and after-school youth programs. There will be new facilities for the Museums renowned Bella program for young people with special needs, a digital classroom, multi-media room, library and resource room and a lecture theatre/new media events space.
New media, enhanced online capabilities and improved facilities will enable the MCA to deliver a greater range of educational programs to more Australians living in remote and regional areas.
As the only institution in Australia dedicated to both collecting and exhibiting contemporary art, living artists are at the heart of all the MCAs activities. Using new techonology, the new facilities will give young people across Australia the opportunity to engage with the artists of today, said Ms Macgregor.
New and improved gallery spaces in the new extension and the existing building will allow a greater presence for the MCA permanent collection. This includes important works by contemporary Australian and international artists and a significant collection of early Indigenous bark paintings.