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Sydney’s MCA to host larger events following $53 million upgrade

By Gwen O’Toole

Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) will soon have the capability to host larger and more diverse exhibitions and events with the announcement of a $53 million expansion following an announcement made Tuesday (May 4th) by NSW Premier Kristina Keneally.

The Premier, along with Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, Federal Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, and MCA director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor officially announced that construction on the redevelopment of the Museum of Contemporary Art will commence in June this year.

The Mordant Wing development, as first reported on SpiceNews in December of 2008, will see Federal, State and private funding come together to complete the project.

The artist impression of the new Mordant Wing, beginning construction in June 2010

“We are thrilled and delighted that the Federal Government has agreed to partner the State Government, and that together they will commit $26 million towards the project budget of $53 million. The State Government has agreed to increase its support from the $10 million committed in 2008 and will now match the Federal Government’s $13 million contribution,” said MCA director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor.

The Federal Government is supporting the project through the Department of Infrastructure Transport, Regional Development to stimulate employment in the construction industry and across the wider community. The Premier and Ministers also announced that Simon Mordant, Chairman of the MCA’s Foundation, and his family had made an extraordinary and unprecedented commitment to a contemporary art project with a donation of $15 million.

Macgregor expressed thanks to the Mordant family, the Federal and State Governments the City of Sydney and the additional private donors who made the expansion possible.
The extension to the north of the existing MCA building will be appropriately named the Mordant Wing will provide a learning centre, workshop spaces for schools, youth programs, and children with disabilities. Educational facilities including a digital classroom, multi-media room, library and a lecture theatre/new events space and additional gallery space will also be housed within the extension.

The Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) has applauded the extension, calling it a boost for tourism.

TTF Executive director Brett Gale said one in three international visitors to Sydney visited an art gallery or museum last year, while the recent Masterpieces from Paris exhibition in Canberra attracted nearly half a million visitors and contributed almost $100 million to the economy, clearly demonstrating that art-based events help to drive visitation.

“TTF has advocated this investment for some time and we are delighted that the federal and state governments are working in partnership with private donors to make this happen,” he said.

“This is exactly the sort of investment we need to entice people who come to Sydney to stay another night, boosting economic activity for hotels, restaurants, retailers and transport operators.

”This will allow the MCA to better compete with its international rivals, delivering the opportunity to attract the best artists and exhibitions from around the world, he said.” 

Construction is set to begin in June with its completion projected for early 2012.