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State-of-the-art Gallery opens in Latrobe City

After undergoing a $4 million refurbishment and expansion program the Latrobe Regional Gallery in Morwell re-opened to the public on Wednesday

By Latrobe Shire - 13th March 2003 - Back to News

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The gallery was opened by Latrobe City Mayor, Councillor Tony Hanning, and Morwell MLA, Brendan Jenkins in the presence of 150 invited guests.


Cr Hanning said the re-development had been one of the most significant construction projects in the Latrobe Valley, and the new Gallery is now one of the most well equipped and extensive Galleries in regional Australia.


The Gallery’s refurbishment has been provided through grants provided by the Federal Government, Victorian State Government through Arts Victoria (Department of Premier and Cabinet) and Latrobe City Council.


Cr Hanning spoke of his proud involvement with the refurbishment of the Latrobe Regional Gallery. "Latrobe City Council now has a world class facility that has set an exceptionally high standard in regional Victoria. It is a credit to the architects, the arts community and the representatives of the City of Latrobe for their vision, faith and the positive outcomes it will provide," Cr Hanning said.


Morwell MLA, Brendan Jenkins, said that the variety and calibre of art that could now be presented in Latrobe City had reached a new level. "Having access to such a broad range of national and international art will not only be a wonderful experience for the community at large but also further highlight the breadth of our local talent," Mr Jenkins said.


Featuring seven superb gallery spaces and an enclosed external sculpture courtyard, the gallery has been designed to cater for a wide variety of exhibits. "Latrobe City will now be able to showcase local artist’s exhibitions in the Community Gallery alongside world-renowned art from travelling exhibitions, and the permanent collection. The grand spaces of levels one and two combine uniquely to allow for accommodation of both large travelling exhibitions in linked spaces and individual exhibits in the separate galleries," Cr Hanning explained.

Deputy Mayor, Cr Darrell White, said visitors will enjoy seeing the transformation of the original building. "Special elements such as the incorporation of the original foundation stones at the entry and a purpose built minimalist clock in Gallery One, contrast the old with the new. While the old Morwell Council Chambers are barely recognisable in the minimalist refurbishment, the original brick walls in the sculpture courtyard have new art works highlighted against them, and the existing concrete floors have been polished in such a way that they have become a feature," Cr White said.


Architects Williams and Boag have worked in partnership with Latrobe City and R & J Van Poppel builders to produce the new building. A ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the gallery reveals a studio workshop, meeting room, purpose built art stores, curators’ facilities and four levels of complex machinery dedicated to state-of-the-art atmospheric controls. "Approximately one quarter of the budget was spent on the specialised atmospheric controls, with the gallery now meeting international exhibiting standards, Gallery Director, Rodney Scherer explained.


"Special arts storage and lifts and curators facilities will mean that the exhibits from the gallery’s permanent collection can be regularly changed," Mr Scherer said.


"There are also significant benefits from the gallery refurbishment for the local arts community. The studio workshop has been designed in consultation with local art groups, and groups will be able to book the space through the gallery. The meeting room also will be available for public use through a booking system," Mr Scherer said.


Featuring throughout the Gallery are the works of well known local artist Anthea Williams. Ms Williams has worked closely with the architects to design several integrated internal and external designs and along with local sculptor Paul Jesse has been commissioned to create innovative signage pieces for the external facade. Designs Ms. Williams describes as "fluid, dynamic and energetic open form drawings in free-space."


With a swathe of new facilities and functions the public will now be able to take advantage of Latrobe City’s new gallery as it has never been able to previously. The new gallery shop features a range of affordable high quality art related products. Cards highlighting art from the gallery’s permanent collection will be on sale, alongside selected works from local artists.


Boasting a selection of fine foods and coffees a new café incorporated into the design will be open by May providing a convivial atmosphere to chat and relax while viewing the exhibitions.


Employing four full time and six part time staff the gallery opening hours will be Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm and weekends 11am to 4pm.


Exhibitions to celebrate the Latrobe Regional Gallery’s opening are now on display. Exhibitions from the permanent collection will be open for viewing from April.


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