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Art Gallery of NSW surpasses $100 million donation goal

The Art Gallery of NSW has raised more than $344 million to expand the building and commission more art exhibitions

The Art Gallery of NSW has surpassed its $100 million donation target to support construction, in what was the largest public-private art partnership of its kind.

On top of the NSW government’s $244 million, the Gallery raised $103.5 million and will continue seeking philanthropic support for its construction of the building and the launch of more art acquisitions throughout 2019.

Announcing the fundraising milestone, Art Gallery of NSW Director, Dr Michael Brand, said: “The Gallery set an ambitious target for an ambitious project with art at its heart. The response to the campaign from donors has been so positive that we have surpassed our $100 million goal.

“This is an extraordinary public endorsement of our vision, and we are incredibly grateful to all our donors for partnering with the Gallery and the NSW government to help bring this expansion and transformation to life.”

The new building will provide more capacity to display more of the art collection and host more exhibitions to increase worldwide visitation by two million annually.

The Ainsworth family was one of the top donors, contributing a gift of more than $10 million. The Lowy family, the Neilson Foundation, Gretel Packer and Mark and Louise Nelson also each made gifts of $5 million to the Gallery.

Art Gallery of NSW Trustee, Geoff Ainsworth, whose family made the $10 million gift, said a passion for art was a key motivator for their significant support.

“We are delighted to support this exciting new chapter in the Gallery’s history. Sydney will gain a vibrant new cultural destination where audiences can see more of the State’s outstanding art collection and more of the best exhibitions from around the world,” Ainsworth said.

Ainsworth is a leading donor to the Gallery’s art acquisition, which will officially launch next year in the lead up to the Gallery’s 150th anniversary in 2021. A focus will be site-specific works commissioned from leading artists around the world.

Highlights of the expanded Gallery will include a destination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, a large gallery for major exhibitions, a contemporary art space repurposed from decommissioned WWII oil tanks and educational spaces for the close to 200,000 students and teachers that visit annually.

The NSW Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Don Harwin, said: “In NSW we are fortunate to have passionate people in our community who not only have a genuine love for the arts but also extraordinarily generous.

“When we open the doors to the expanded Gallery it will be in large part thanks to the generosity of these people who care so much about this NSW institution.”

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