The City of Newcastle has welcomed a formidable $10 million bequest made to the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation.
The sizeable donation was made by long-time supporter and patron of Newcastle Art Gallery Valerie Ryan, who passed away in November last year just shy of her 95th birthday.
The share portfolio bequest, announced this week will be held in trust by the Goundation wand will either be dedicated to bolstering the gallery’s collection or a proposed expansion project which would more than double the exhibition space.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said that the bequest could go a long way in helping to secure state and federal government funding for the $36 million expansion project.
“On behalf of all Novocastrians, I would like to extend profound thanks to the Ryan family for this remarkable pledge, which will stand as a wonderful legacy to the lives of Valerie and John Ryan,” she said.
“If the valuable bequest is dedicated to the Gallery’s expansion, it could significantly bolster our efforts to seek state and federal funding to finally get on with the $36 million project.”
Cr Nelmes added that the project would extend the site east and along Darby Street to Queen Street and would feature a glass facade, a street-level cafe, retail shop and exhibition space.
“This will create a proud new Gallery of international standing for the people of the Hunter while also offering Newcastle a valuable cultural tourism opportunity,”
The Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation and the community have already raised more than $1.2 million for the Gallery’s expansion, which will take between 18 and 24 months to complete when work begins.
“It is through John and Valerie’s incredible and continued generosity that procuring important works of art for the city’s collection have been made possible,” Gallery director Lauretta Morton said.
“We are thrilled that through this extraordinary gift to the Foundation they will continue to benefit their beloved Gallery and the Newcastle community for generations to come.”