Plans for Lismore’s new gallery approved at last

Lismore Regional Gallery - Western approach.
Lismore Regional Gallery - Western approach.

Lismore Gallery Director Brett Adlington can breathe a sigh of relief.  It’s only taken 113 years but finally plans have been approved for a beautiful new art space…

Recently I spoke about Lismore’s quest to redevelop C-Block into a new art gallery at a conference at the beautiful and newly built Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) []. As I was introduced, I was asked how long Lismore had been working on this project. ‘Since 1902’, was my (only half-jokingly) answer.

Indeed, one of the first images I showed was a font page article from The Northern Star, dated 19 July 1902, in which artist H. Stuart Wilson suggested Lismore work towards establishing a gallery. Subsequently, architect J.A.V. Nisbitt was commissioned in 1939 to draw up plans for a proposed public library and cultural centre. This work is housed in our permanent collection.  And then, once Lismore Regional Gallery was housed (temporarily) in our current premises in 1954, the push continued. Newspaper articles from 1970, 1976, 1989, 2001, 2007 all point towards the desperate need to relocate Lismore Regional Gallery.

Countless people have been involved in this process over the year. The late John Stretch was active in not only setting up the Gallery and the Trust, but continued to lobby for better space. Directors Richard Maude, Irena Hatfield and particularly Steven Alderton worked hard to get this project off the ground. And then there were other people within the community who have worked tirelessly for this: Ros Derrett, Jyllie Jackson, Andrew Binns, Jan Davis, John & Myeka Page are just some of the many, many people involved in moving out of our current premises.

Lismore Regional Gallery has been in the same building since 1954.  This photograph was taken in 1987

Lismore Regional Gallery has been in the same building since 1954. This photograph was taken in 1987

So when on Monday December 7, when it was announced that Lismore City Council would receive $2.85million to construct the Lismore Quadrangle it didn’t seem real. After all the past work, and many disappointments, it didn’t seem that this project would ever get off the ground. But now it will.

This funding, representing 50% of the full cost, means that we now have a 100% fully funded project (factoring in the expected fundraising campaign) and we have started discussions in earnest with Bangalow based architect, Dominic Finlay Jones dominicfinlayjones

While it’s early days to give firm dates, expectations are that building may commence around September 2016, with opening in mid-2017.

I will be working closely with the Friends of the Gallery to bring in dollars that were pledged to this project in 2013. To support this project, you can make a tax deductible donation by following the details on our website

And finally, without the support of Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell, and Member for Page, Kevin Hogan MP, this project may very well have been realised many years into the future, so it is testament to the vision of these individuals.






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