Public plea for $1m for gallery

A FUND-raising committee could be established to source $1 million from private avenues to offset the Albury Art Gallery shortfall.

The Albury Council will re-visit the art gallery redevelopment on Monday night with staff recommending the project proceed and the creation of a fund-raising group, headed by a prominent community figure, as one way to ease additional ratepayer burden.

The project has a $3.5 million shortfall with the state government unwilling to match the commitment already made to the $10.5 million upgrade by ratepayers and the federal government.

The remaining funding of $2.45 million would be made up from cash reserves or a loan, a move the council rejected on a 5-4 vote in November.

Additional consultation carried out since the decision to put the project on hold has again revealed the community is split on the project going ahead without NSW government funding.

A survey of more than 1000 respondents found only 50 per cent of people were either “supportive” or “very supportive” of the upgrade going ahead.

The creation of a fund-raising committee has been prompted by discussions between council officers and the Australian Business Arts Foundation, Philanthropy Australia, fund-raising consultants and other fund-raising organisations operating within the arts community.

“If properly executed, this form of fund-raising can realistically expect to target 10 per cent of the total project funds,” a council report states.

“It should be acknowledged that council will be required to underwrite the full project shortfall in the interim.

“This would be predicated on a fund-raising committee being charged with raising $1.05 million.

“The research undertaken to date would indicate that while this is a risk, an appropriate and well managed campaign will achieve this target.”

The altered funding model being put forward on Monday has effectively put paid to any hope of the state government providing funding to the art gallery.

The council will have to reschedule some other projects earmarked for funding from the special rate variation agreed to by ratepayers two years ago.