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A rendering of the Melbourne Arts Precinct and the NVG Contemporary. Photo: Creative Victoria.

Melbourne to Build Australia’s Largest Contemporary Art Gallery

The Victorian State Government has announced a collaboration with the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) to create Australia’s largest contemporary art gallery, which will be built in the Melbourne Arts Precinct in Southbank. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the gallery—which will be called NGV Contemporary and is estimated to open in 2025—will serve as the crown jewel for what premier Daniel Andrews said will become the country’s “cultural capital.” The Victorian State Government has already allocated around $150 million to secure the site and start planning the building, which will be located behind the NGV. Further funding for the project is expected to come from local philanthropy.

Creative industries minister Martin Foley said it would make Victoria a global arts leader, and at a time when the country’s demand for contemporary art keeps rising. NGV’s recent triennial, which comprised over one hundred artists and designers, brought more than 1.2 million visitors to the area and was the most popular exhibition since the institution opened in 1861. The recently revitalized Melbourne Arts Precinct also includes the Victorian College of the Arts, the Australian Center for Contemporary Art, and the newly opened Buxton Contemporary. The announced development will also include upgrades to theaters at the Arts Center, an expansion for the Australian Music Vault, a new pedestrian area with bars and restaurants, bike paths, and more park space on Southbank Boulevard. The government said the redevelopment is likely to create ten thousand jobs during gallery construction and two hundred and sixty permanent jobs. 

“This means an enormous amount for Victoria,” NGV director Tony Ellwood said. “To actually really capitalize on the strength in numbers around contemporary art and design and to create a building of this magnitude, with this kind of vision, really consolidates our position as the leader in the arts in this country.” 

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