The Shepparton Art Museum opening tomorrow at $50m cost half as much as the NT Government has set aside as a deposit for the national Indigenous gallery in Alice Springs of which there is still no sign.
Shepparton has nine free exhibitions, four new artwork commissions, over 200 artists presented, as well as 160 Indigenous and First Nations artworks on display.
Designed by acclaimed Australian architecture firm Denton Corker Marshall and spanning five floors, the new art museum houses over 4,000 artworks, including its nationally recognised ceramics collection and the nation’s most significant collection of South-East Australian Aboriginal art.
SAM Artistic Director and CEO Rebecca Coates said: “SAM has been designed as a live building where every surface presents an opportunity to display and be surrounded by art and experience, whether you go to the cafe, drop into the shop or even drive past at night when the gallery is closed.
“We are proud to be putting Shepparton on the cultural map and to contribute to radically changing this unique part of regional Victoria.”
Also premiering is Flow: Stories of River, Earth and Sky, an exhibition showcasing over 60 artists from SAM’s collection, including major new acquisitions shown for the first time, the nation’s largest holding of works by the extended Namatjira family.
Designed to act as a community and arts and cultural hub for the Greater Shepparton region, the new SAM building houses the Shepparton Art Museum; Shepparton Visitors’ Information Centre; Kaiela Arts, Shepparton’s Aboriginal community arts centre; an outdoor amphitheatre and Art Hill; and a cafe and 150-person event space and terrace, all within an 5,300m2 cubic building.
The new building was funded by Greater Shepparton City Council ($15.35m), the Australian Government ($15m); Victorian State Government ($12.5m) and private philanthropic and community support through the SAM Foundation ($7.5m).