In preparation for its 125th anniversary in 2020, the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) in Perth has announced plans to embark on a significant cultural and commercial development with the expansion of its unused rooftop.
‘AGWAElevate2020’ will be its first capital development for 25 years since the old Perth court was converted to the ‘Centenary Galleries’ in the Beaufort Street wing. A public/private-funded partnership will see an estimated $20-25 million bring to life AGWA Foundation member Fred Chaney’s conceptual design; a new rooftop destination with an iconic newly commissioned work by a major artist of international standing, and other outdoor art displays, together with a flexible cinema/performance space, a community gathering space and a signature restaurant.
In addition, the current staff car park on Beaufort Street will be transformed into a garden space also dedicated to arts displays. Both new spaces will welcome potential PIAF, Fringe World and other local residencies. Other enhancements include an extension to the current café facing the Perth station; an external lift to the roof; and an improved and relocated Education and Guide Centre in the Beaufort Street wing. This will create a new focus on the older part of the building complex around the new garden generating extra impact.
AGWA board chairman Sam Walsh AO was pleased to announce the project after his very first board meeting; “In challenging financial times the AGWAElevate2020 rooftop development and the other significant enhancements are an exciting and achievable goal for the gallery. They will deliver a new attraction for Perth in time for our big anniversaries in 2019 and 2020. I thank the new Government of WA for the significant vote of confidence they have given this project with a financial commitment of $10 million which makes it an achievable goal with other private and public partners. Importantly, they will elevate our offer and enable AGWA to reach out to a wider audience, expand opening hours and expand its range of activities – as well as provide WA with a new cultural icon on the city’s horizon.”
“The vision for the rooftop was left incomplete when the gallery opened its new building in 1979. It’s great, 40 years later, to be able to plan completing the job in such style. The real focus will be on new art experiences, art of today. It will be one of the best city views in Australia and a go-to place for something extraordinary in the WA arts scene. I can’t wait.”
WA Chamber of Arts and Culture chair, Helen Cook, welcomed the plans, “The project promises to make a real difference to the Perth Cultural Centre and will help to increase the vitality of artistic life in Western Australia.”