Melbourne to build Australia’s largest contemporary art gallery

While Sydney may be known for its iconic architecture, beaches and weather, Melbourne has long held a reputation for leading the charge when it comes to arts and culture.

With its amazing live music scene, fashion designers, small bar and dining culture and multitude of excellent galleries, distinctive laneways and artistic enclaves – Melbourne arts and culture is a major drawcard for residents, investors and tourists alike.

Melbourne’s arts scene is also about to get a significant boost. The Victorian government has announced plans for a $1 billion project which will create a dynamic arts precinct in the inner-urban neighbourhood of Southbank, which also recently ranked in Melbourne’s top 10 suburbs. The precinct will incorporate and revitalise the existing National Gallery of Victoria and The Arts Centre, Melbourne, while also building new galleries and public spaces.

A ‘game-changer’ for Melbourne

Premier Daniel Andrews describes this as a “once-in- a- generation” project that will attract visitors from across the country and the world.

“It’s a game-changer for our city that will cement Melbourne as the cultural capital of Australia,” he said.

The centrepiece of the project is a new standalone gallery: National Gallery of Victoria Contemporary (NGV Contemporary). It will be built on the current Carlton Breweries site and when finished, will be the largest contemporary art and design gallery in Australia.

The project also includes:

  • Upgrades to theatres and public spaces to The Arts Centre, Melbourne
  • 1 City Road – one of the only available parcels of land in the area – will become home to a new Australian Performing Arts Gallery, an expanded Australian Music Vault, Arts Centre Melbourne’s administrative offices, education and research facilities, and a new creative hub for small to medium and independent arts organisations.
  • The area around NGV will be transformed to provide 18,000m2 of new and renewed open public space, including an elevated pedestrian park and outdoor performance and event spaces. This will enable people to move seamlessly across the precinct and connect with Southbank bars and restaurants as well.

3 million extra visitors per year, 10,000 jobs

The Arts Centre and NGV together currently attract more than 6 million visitors every year – twice as many as the MCG.

The new Southbank arts precinct is expected to attract an extra 3 million visitors each year, create 10,000 jobs during the construction phase, and 260 ongoing jobs.

The state government will provide $208 million to kickstart the project’s development over the next 2 years, with further funding to be announced.

Mr Andrews said the Government expects the new NGV Contemporary gallery to be completed by 2025.

Creative industries support 242,000 jobs and contribute $22 billion to Victoria’s economy every year.

Take a look at some of the concept photos of the new Southbank arts precinct.

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