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Art Gallery of New South Wales celebrates groundbreaking for Sydney Modern Project

Thursday 7 November 2019

The official party take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sydney Modern Project. From left to right: Ben Quilty, Artist Member, Art Gallery of NSW Board of Trustees; Gretel Packer, Vice President, Art Gallery of NSW Board of Trustees; Mark Nelson, Chair, Sydney Modern Project Capital Campaign Committee, Art Gallery of NSW; Ryue Nishizawa, Architect, SANAA; Kazuyo Sejima, Architect, SANAA; Dr Michael Brand, Director, Art Gallery of NSW; The Hon. Don Harwin, MLC, Minister for the Arts; The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, MP, Premier of New South Wales; David Gonski AC, President, Art Gallery of NSW Board of Trustees; Maud Page, Deputy Director and Director of Collections, Art Gallery of NSW; Isaac Wakil AO, Chair, Susan & Isaac Wakil Foundation; Sally Webster, Head of Sydney Modern Project, Art Gallery of NSW; Uncle Charles (Chicka) Madden, Gadigal Elder and Member of the Art Gallery of NSW Indigenous Advisory Group; Simon Draper, Chief Executive, Infrastructure NSW and Jamie Crookes, Managing Director, Richard Crookes Constructions. Photo: © AGNSW, Felicity Jenkins.

The Art Gallery of New South Wales has marked the start of construction of its highly anticipated expansion, the Sydney Modern Project, at a groundbreaking ceremony today.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for the Arts Don Harwin led the official first sod turning for the Gallery’s new building, designed by Pritzker prize-winning architects SANAA. The project is scheduled for completion in 2022 and the Gallery remains open during construction.

Art Gallery of New South Wales director, Dr Michael Brand said he was honoured to celebrate the project’s groundbreaking with the Gallery community.

“The Art Gallery of New South Wales is poised for a new era. It’s an exciting time for art, artists and audiences as we bring to life our ambitious vision for the future to deliver more rich and meaningful experiences of art for everyone,” Dr Brand said.

“Today also marks the culmination of the planning and design phase of the Sydney Modern Project, and I pay tribute to everyone who has helped us realise this project to create a glorious new cultural space, designed by our architects SANAA.”

President of the Art Gallery of New South Wales Board of Trustees, David Gonski AC said the Gallery played a vital role in the cultural life of the state and the nation.

“The widespread support for the Gallery’s once in a generation expansion symbolises the importance of the arts to the community,” Mr Gonski said.

“We are deeply grateful to the NSW Government for funding the expansion of the state’s leading art museum and our extraordinary community of donors who have so generously partnered with us on our next exciting chapter. Thank you for facilitating arts and culture for future generations.”

The $344 million project is the largest government and philanthropic partnership of its kind to be achieved to date in the arts in Australia. Together with the NSW Government’s $244 million in funding, the Gallery has attracted unprecedented support, exceeding its fundraising target of $100 million to support construction of the new building.

Mr Gonski also acknowledged the Gallery’s present and past trustees, director Michael Brand and his predecessor Edmund Capon, the campaign committee led by Mark Nelson, and all staff for their ongoing contribution to the Gallery’s success.

Kazuyo Sejima, one of the world’s leading architects who heads up the Tokyo-based practice SANAA together with Ryue Nishizawa, said they were excited to be part of the Gallery’s groundbreaking celebrations.

“For a very long time, we have wanted to create in Sydney an inspiring building dedicated to art that will give visitors a special sense of place,” Ms Sejima said.

“This is our first Australian building, and we are delighted it is now being realised. We look forward to the opening.”

Infrastructure NSW is managing the delivery of the Sydney Modern Project on behalf of the NSW Government and the Gallery. Richard Crookes Constructions is the project builder.

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