Albury searches for its own 'Grace Kelly'

ALBURY Council has started discussions about bringing international exhibitions to its redeveloped $10.5 million art gallery when completed in 2015.

It has assured potential exhibitors the environmental conditions within the upgraded gallery will be of suitable and appropriate standard to host internationally renowned works.

Council staff have made representations to host exhibitions including Italian modernist painter Miro from the Spanish-based Joan Miro Foundation and the Gericault to Gauguin: Printmaking in France 1820–1900 collection from New Zealand.

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The council is banking on the high-level exhibits boosting attendance numbers to 80,000 per year.

The upgraded gallery will almost triple the floor space from 821 to 2038 square metres and consist of two permanent collection galleries, three contemporary gallery spaces and two emerging artist galleries.

Comparisons have previously been made with the Bendigo Art Gallery, which was upgraded to a standard to host the critically acclaimed Grace Kelly: Style Icon exhibition.

The exhibition attracted 135,000 visitors and injected $17 million into the Bendigo economy.

Council staff have developed an operational and functional specification for the exhibition and storage facilities.

It has been sent to seven major state and three international galleries which hold significant art collections seeking their in-principle support for future exhibitions from their collections.

Letters of support have been received from the Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand and assistant director Anthony Bond and National Gallery of Victoria director Tony Ellwood.

Reassurances have been received through discussions with the Museum of Contemporary Art director Elizabeth-Ann Macgregor and Art Gallery of South Australia director Nick Mitzevich.

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