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Works resume on Bega’s $3.5m art gallery

July 20, 2023 7:04 am in by

Works on the South East Centre for Contemporary Art (SECCA) have resumed.

Bega Valley Shire Council took the role of Principal Contractor for the project in early May, to ensure the project’s completion, after the collapse of Lloyd Group Pty Ltd earlier this year.

Mayor, Russell Fitzpatrick, said councils’ main aims were to finalise works on the landmark regional centre for contemporary arts, and to use as many local contractors as possible.

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“Everyone in the council chambers wants to see the gallery upgrade project delivered, and all councillors want to ensure best value for money possible,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.

“By taking over the role of Principal Contractor, we are able to source the right people for the job at an acceptable cost,” he said.

“The first step was to engage the existing local site manager who is well placed to coordinate the project’s completion and to work with existing local sub-contractors, where possible, to finalise the project.”

The purpose-built contemporary art space has undergone a major $3.5 million redevelopment and expansion of the 30-year-old site formerly known as Bega Valley Regional Gallery.

SECCA Director, Iain Dawson, told East Coast Radio the project was so close to being complete and while work has now resumed, there’s a reluctance to put an exact end date on the project.

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“We were about 90 percent finished (around a month before the original 29 April 2023 opening date),” Mr Dawson said.

“The inside of the building is incredibly complete and just needs some finishing touches, and I can’t wait to show the community what it looks like inside,” he said.

“It’s really constructing the facade of the building and those finishing touches which will take up the remainder of the time of the build.

“It’s going to be a stunning addition to the region’s cultural facilities.”

Mr Dawson was overjoyed to finally have works on the gallery recommence.

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“Thrilled to have our builders back on site and a schedule of works in place, things are heating up again,” Mr Dawson said.

“We’re excited to let the community know what’s happening with the build as soon as we have a few firmer details in place.”

The free community opening event which was originally planned for April 29, will still go ahead before the gallery’s main exhibitions kick off.

“The initial program called Perforated Sovereignty showcases established and emerging artists from the local region alongside those from wider Australia and the Asia Pacific,” Mr Dawson said.

“The exhibitions will explore an eclectic range of themes from gender and cultural identity, trauma and the environment to reflections on historical events and their ongoing impact and will really represent the South East region.”

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As the only contemporary art centre in South Eastern NSW, SECCA will host important touring exhibitions and deliver a world-class artistic program designed to stimulate local audiences and develop a centrepiece for a strong cultural tourism economy.

“I’m really looking forward to showing this gallery to the public, opening with our opening exhibition just before we go into our Archibald Prize tour in summer this year.”

Images: Bega Valley Shire Council, East Coast Radio

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