The Brag Media
News June 4, 2018

Melbourne arts precinct to get “once-in-a-generation” transformation

Melbourne arts precinct to get “once-in-a-generation” transformation

One of Melbourne’s arts precincts is to undergo a major redevelopment that will see an expansion of the Australian Music Vault hall of fame exhibition, a new centre for small-to-medium and independent arts organisations and be home to Australia’s largest contemporary art gallery.

Premier Daniel Andrews and minister for creative industries Martin Foley unveiled the plan at the Arts Centre Melbourne yesterday (Sunday, June 3).

“This once-in-a-generation redevelopment of Southbank and the arts precinct will create thousands of jobs and attract millions of visitors from across Victoria, Australia and the world,” the premier said.

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

The centrepiece of the redevelopment is NGV Contemporary – a standalone gallery with a focus on contemporary art and design.

According to the government, it will be Australia’s largest contemporary art gallery, and will be built on the site of the Carlton & United Breweries Building on Southbank Boulevard.

The project will bring the Southbank and arts precinct to life, with 18,000 square metres of new and renewed public space, enabling visitors to move seamlessly from Southbank and the Yarra, through Melbourne’s iconic St Kilda Road cultural institutions.

The project will also upgrade theatres and public spaces at the Arts Centre Melbourne, and transform 1 City Road into a new creative hub in the heart of the city.

The hub will be home to the Australian Performing Arts Gallery, an expanded Australian Music Vault, administrative, education and research facilities, and a new centre for small-to-medium and independent arts organisations.

The Labor government will invest $208 million over two years in the first phase of the project.

It will kickstart the project and enable the NGV and Arts Centre Melbourne to begin raising philanthropic funds for the revitalisation.

The project is expected to create 10,000 jobs during construction, 260 ongoing jobs and attract an extra 3 million visitors each year.

The Arts Centre Melbourne and NGV together already attract more than six million visitors every year – twice as many as the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG).

Research shows that creative industries support 242,000 jobs and contribute $22 billion to Victoria’s economy every year.

More recently, the horses moved out and the artists moved in after Southbank’s former Victoria police mounted branch stables were turned into a teaching and learning facility at the University of Melbourne’s Southbank campus – Faculty of Fine Arts & Music.

The former riding school now features a 260-seat multipurpose arts wing for theatre, dance, music theatre and music performances, with 170 art studios and flexible exhibition spaces.

The heritage features of the police stables, built in 1912, were maintained: they included the bluestone mounting yards, red brick façade and iconic octagonal roof and The Dome skylight.

The $18 million refurbishment was made possible by the state government, the university and philanthropists including The Ian Potter Foundation, The Myer Foundation and Martyn & Louise Myer.

The repurposing and redevelopment of The Stables is part of a long-term plan to transform Southbank into one of the world’s leading arts precincts.

A new state-of-the-art nine-storey building for the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music – The Ian Potter Southbank Centre – opens in 2019.


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