Aug 4, 2010

Work starts on $53 million MCA redevelopment

Work starts on $53 million MCA redevelopment

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

August 4 2010

Work has now started on the $53 million redevelopment of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), which will deliver a world class art and educational institution.

The upgrade will increase the size of the museum by nearly 50 per cent to more than 16,700 square metres, bringing together the 58 year old existing MCA building with a modern extension.

Following the appointment of builders in July 2010, enabling work is underway on the site and today marks the start of the main construction work.

The MCA opened in 1991 on the site of the Maritime Services Board building in the historic Rocks precinct. It attracts more than half a million visitors a year.

The project will create 219 construction jobs plus an additional 217 jobs over five years post construction, and rejuvenate this Sydney tourism drawcard.

Federal Infrastructure Minister, Anthony Albanese, Premier Kristina Keneally, Member for Sydney, Tanya Plibersek, Federal Arts Minister, Peter Garrett, NSW Arts Minister, Virginia Judge, Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney, Clover Moore MP, and Director of the MCA, Liz Ann Macgregor, were on site today to see the start of construction work.

All levels of Government, together with private donors including Chairman of the MCA’s Foundation Simon Mordant, have provided significant funding towards the upgrade:

  • Mordant Family contribution: $15 million.
  • Federal Government contribution: $13 million.
  • NSW Government contribution: $13 million.
  • City of Sydney Council contribution: $1 million.

Mr Albanese said the redevelopment would turn the MCA into a world-leading arts facility.

“This project will create jobs, stimulate the economy, and deliver a contemporary art museum bringing world class exhibitions to Sydney,” Mr Albanese said.

“The MCA will emerge as a museum which stands alongside the finest contemporary art museums across the globe.”

Plans for the project were approved in June 2009, and informed by a design panel of architects and an artist. The redevelopment includes:

  • A new entry providing full access to people with disabilities.
  • Dedicated state of the art educational facilities for schools and colleges.
  • A 120-seat lecture theatre and new media events space.
  • A digital classroom, multi-media room, library and resource room.
  • New exhibition spaces to host exhibitions of international standing and showcase the Museum’s permanent collection.
  • A larger museum shop, rooftop café and sculpture terrace and new spaces for venue hire to improve opportunities for revenue generation.

Premier Keneally said in addition to the capital funding, the NSW Government provided $3.5 million per annum towards the operation of the MCA.

“This redevelopment will make the MCA bigger and better, benefiting its half a million domestic and international visitors per year,” Ms Keneally said.

“The redevelopment is a partnership of public support and private philanthropy, which will make the museum a cornerstone of activity in our creative industry precinct.”

Mr Garrett said the redevelopment was an example of a successful partnership between the Gillard Labor Government, State Government, Local Council and the private sector.

“The redevelopment of the Museum of Contemporary Art will significantly improve this leading art space, adding vibrancy to the Circular Quay precinct,” Mr Garrett said.

“Once completed, the project will breathe new life into Australia’s leading contemporary art museum.”

NSW Minister for the Arts, Virginia Judge, said this was a project NSW can be proud of.

“The MCA is a perfect example of why NSW is Australia’s creative capital,” Ms Judge said.

“It is the only museum dedicated to exhibiting, interpreting and collecting contemporary art in the nation, and its permanent collection and touring exhibitions stir the senses.”

Ms Plibersek said the start of construction at the MCA was further evidence of the Gillard Labor Government’s commitment to supporting a vibrant arts community in Sydney.

“Through this $53 million makeover, the MCA will play a greater role in bringing contemporary artists to our city and making the arts more accessible to our community.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said the redevelopment will expand the significant role the Museum plays in Sydney.

“This redevelopment will transform the Museum into a cutting edge cultural hub for contemporary art and ideas which all Australians can enjoy,” Ms Moore said.

“The MCA last year won the Lord Mayor’s Sustainability Award for its initiatives with green IT and LED lighting and the new wing will incorporate sustainable design that includes a seawater heat exchange with a fully integrated air-conditioning system.”

Director of the MCA, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, said the redevelopment will cement the MCA’s role as a locally loved and internationally respected contemporary arts institution.

“Half a million people visit the MCA each year as we continue to break attendance records. Contemporary art has never been more popular,” Ms Macgregor said.

“Education is at the heart of the redevelopment, which will build a National Centre for Creative Learning using state-of-the-art technology.

“As well as bringing internationally acclaimed exhibitions to Sydney, the educational facility will take the work of Australian artists to online visitors around the globe.

“The Museum will emerge as a global leader in the delivery of world class arts education.”

The design by innovative architect, Sam Marshall, in partnership with the NSW Government Architect, will complement the existing building and energise The Rocks precinct.

The MCA will continue to operate as normal until July 2011, when the galleries will be closed and the Museum will present several major exhibitions off-site at contemporary arts precincts across Sydney. The project is earmarked for completion in early 2012.