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Oh, to live in a country with funding for arts infrastructure…

The NSW Government’s $244 million funding commitment to support the expansion of the Art Gallery of New South Wales will transform the much-loved and historic Gallery into one of the world’s greatest art museums.

Welcoming the landmark announcement made today by Arts Minister Don Harwin, Art Gallery of NSW director Dr Michael Brand said he was delighted with the funds. The expansion will significantly increase space for the Gallery to exhibit art, and is expected to attract two million visitors annually.

“This is a remarkable day for the Gallery and the Australian arts community,” Dr Brand said.

“Our expanded Gallery will deliver an iconic building that combines art, architecture and landscape in an extraordinary way, and in one of the most breathtaking locations in the world,” Dr Brand added.

Combined with government funds of $244 million, the Art Gallery of NSW capital campaign, to be officially launched later this year, will raise $100 million in philanthropic support for the project of which $70 million has been pledged.

The expansion will see more of the Gallery’s iconic collection, worth $1.3 billion, on display. It will improve significantly the State’s ability to attract more major international art exhibitions to NSW.

The Art Gallery of NSW, set in The Domain on the edge of the Sydney CBD, is already a magnificent institution. Sydney (pop. about 5 million), together with the similar-sized Melbourne and with Brisbane (pop. about 2 million, like Vancouver’s) all have outstanding arts complexes, achieved in a country of about 23 million people.

The full press release from the AGNSW is here.