Art Gallery redevelopment - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Art Gallery redevelopment

USC Art Gallery is embarking on an ambitious capital works project made possible through the generosity of the late Arija Austin.

The project will see an expansion of the Gallery’s footprint through the construction of additional exhibition space and storage for our growing University art collection.

USC Art Gallery has temporarily closed its doors while undergoing this transformation.

USC is committed to its communities and this revitalisation will give us the capacity to present inspiring world-class exhibitions and programs that encourage curiosity, inquiry and exchange.

Keep up-to-date with our progress by joining our mailing list or following us on Facebook and Instagram.

Reopening

Due to the unprecedented and constantly evolving situation that is COVID-19 we are carefully assessing when we will reopen. We look forward to sharing more details with you soon and thank you for your understanding. You can follow our redevelopment journey below.

For further advice on changes to USC operations please see USC's response to COVID-19.

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Architects image of the USC Art Gallery redevelopment

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Architects sketch of USC Art Gallery redevelopment

First-class cultural facilities

The vision for the $1.5 million Art Gallery redevelopment is to realise the Gallery as an unsurpassed community asset.

Designed by Gianna Bruschi, the project was led by this vision and informed by industry standards for the display and care of contemporary art.

The redeveloped building will include:

  • Two exhibition spaces: one 190m2 space with 6m ceilings, and one 100m2 space with 4.5-6m ceilings
  • 80m2 of collection and crate storage
  • 55m2 of reception space

These facilities will give us greater programming capacity. They will allow us to host large-scale professional exhibitions as well as smaller exhibitions. We will be able to expand our public programs and education initiatives, such as talks, lectures, forums and performances, and better care for our $6.5 million art collection.

Adjacent to the Art Gallery and due for completion in March 2020, Building K1 designed by Wilson Architects is a contemporary facility purpose-built for learning and teaching programs primarily in the School of Creative Industries including the drama and music programs.

The design of the building was led by teaching outcomes and the modern delivery of program requirements. The building will include flexible teaching spaces and a performance space set within the natural environment.

The colocation of these facilities will create a cultural hub in the centre of the Sunshine Coast campus.

Architects impression of new Creative Industries Building

Remarkable philanthropic support makes Art Gallery a reality

In June 2015, USC was advised that Arija Austin had bequeathed her and her late husband Richard ‘Dick’ Austin’s substantial personal art collection and a significant portion of their estate to USC. Arija expressed a wish for these funds to be used to expand our capacity to display works, allowing USC to embark on a redevelopment plan.

Throughout the Gallery’s history, we have received remarkable philanthropic support. Our original building which opened in 2004 was also funded entirely through community contributions and our collection has continued to grow into the largest public art collection in the Sunshine Coast region as a result of numerous donations.

Our donors and benefactors understand the rewards that come from engaging with art. We continue to be grateful to them for enabling us to share these rewards with our community.

Local company appointed to construct Art Gallery

In late 2019, local construction company Evans Built was awarded the contract for the Art Gallery Redevelopment.

Evans Built has its roots in an iconic, family-owned construction company. During its thirty-four year history, this Sunshine Coast company built many local landmark developments, becoming one of the largest and most progressive private construction companies in Queensland. Evans Built is founded on an ethos of fundamental values, consistent growth, quality product and client satisfaction, fostered over many successful years in the construction industry.

Relocating a campus icon

Through the support of the Lee Graff Foundation in San Diego, California, artist Konstantin Dimopoulos was commissioned to create a site-specific artwork for the Art Gallery forecourt in 2006. The result was Pulse, a 7m sculpture that moves gently in the wind and focuses on the simple but elegant and dynamic rhythms of nature.

The redevelopment of the Art Gallery meant we had to relocate Pulse. Like all good public art, Pulse had become an iconic place marker associated with the Art Gallery pointing to the cultural heart of the campus. We didn’t want to lose this connection so consideration was given to relocating it to a site where it could maintain this.

Consultation was undertaken with the artist, our Vice-Chancellor’s Art Advisory Committee and USC Campus Planning and Development.

The new home of Pulse is on the axis between Building K,  Building J and the Paul Thomas Library and marks the entrance to our cultural hub from the green spine of the campus.

Art Gallery redevelopment starts to take shape

After weeks of groundworks, concrete pours and working around the weather, our building has come out of the ground! The roof structure has been completed and services rough-in and external cladding are about to commence.

It is exciting to see our new spaces including a 100m2 gallery, foyer and additional storage taking shape.

USC Art Gallery redevelopment taking shape - March 2020