Work will begin this year on an Australia-first arts pavilion set to cement Lake Macquarie as one of the premier cultural destinations in NSW.
Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin and Lake Macquarie Mayor, Cr Kay Fraser led a sod-turning for the $3.5 million Multi Arts Pavilion, designed in collaboration with the University of Newcastle’s School of Architecture and Built Environment, at Speers Point Park last month.
Don said the NSW Government is committed to supporting projects that create greater opportunity for community interaction with all forms of artistic expression.
“This project is one of 136 projects across NSW supported by the Regional Cultural Fund that are making a real difference to arts and culture in communities big and small right around the state,” Don said.
Kay said MAP, Australia’s first purpose-built multimedia arts pavilion, would attract up to 45,000 additional visitors to the Lake Macquarie region annually.
“Set in one of the east coast’s most beautiful lakeside parks, MAP will increase local tourism revenue by an estimated $2.5 million a year,” she said.
“MAP will add to what is already one of our region’s recreational and event hubs.
“Its performances, shows and outdoor events will bring new life, energy, sound and creativity into Speers Point Park after hours.”
Council’s Manager Arts, Culture and Tourism, Jacqui Hemsley said the project had already attracted national interest and would contribute towards shaping the future of art experiences in Lake Macquarie and the region.
“We want to build an immersive experience that creates a connection between location, art and audience that visitors won’t find anywhere else,” Jacqui said.
“MAP is an agile and flexible venue in a high-use location. It will be an ideal stepping-stone for emerging artists, and a platform to present alternative productions to new audiences.
“We will be hosting engaging, experimental and unusual works and public programs from local, national and international artists. MAP will form part of the newly established Lake Arts Precinct, an arts and cultural hub in northern Lake Macquarie featuring the recently renovated Museum of Art and Culture and the Creative Lake foreshore art tourism trail.”
University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO said he was delighted to be there for such an important stage in the new focal point for arts and culture in Lake Macquarie.
“We can’t wait to see Samantha Bailey’s design come to life,” Alex said.
“Giving our students the opportunity to get real-life experience while they’re still studying is a focus for our institution – it’s what makes them ready for life after university.
“Our partnership with Lake Macquarie City Council is enormously important – we know that by working together we can achieve great things for our communities. MAP is just one example.”
Expressions of interest are also open for two major public art pieces to feature at the venue including an illuminated artwork to be installed on the exterior of the building and an external artwork to be installed in the grounds.
Artists interested in submitting an application can apply online here.
The project is funded by the NSW Government through its Regional Cultural Fund, and by Lake Macquarie City Council.
IMAGE | University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser, competition design winner Samantha Bailey and Minister for the Arts Don Harwin MLC turn the sod to mark the start of construction (left to right).