The New South Wales Government's commitment of over $5 million to transform The Gunnery in Woolloomooloo, home to Artspace since 1993, into a state-of-the-art facility with expanded exhibition spaces, increased artist-in-residence studios and stronger links to the neighbourhood and Sydney Harbour Foreshore.
This significant investment in The Gunnery will secure the heritage of the listed building as a visual arts destination in NSW and underline the important role of the arts in supporting NSW's cultural and economic recovery following the impact of COVID-19.
The transformation of The Gunnery will feature these key elements:
Reorientation of the gallery entrance to Forbes Street plaza to provide greater connection with the neighbourhood and harbour foreshore and create a cultural corridor and sightline with Art Gallery of NSW/Sydney Modern Project and the Domain parklands;
Expanded exhibition space on the ground floor;
The first floor will be upgraded into an education, outreach, digital broadcast, performance, production and public program space;
Increasing the number of artist studios offered rent-free to NSW-based artists from 7 to 10;
Create equity access for audiences across all levels;
A new commercial kitchen on first floor and upgraded electrical and fire services; and
Essential building upgrade works including waterproofing, electrical and security systems.
The early 20th Century federation warehouse building is an important heritage listed site, which through its history has been a bulk store for the Sydney Morning Herald and a World War II gunnery instructional centre from which the building derived its name. In the 1970s, it became a famed artist squat, leading to its transformation as an artistic hub.
This project will also allow Artspace to build on its growing strategic partnership with the Art Gallery of NSW, which supports expanded education and outreach, curatorial, digital learning and capacity building programs.