Bundanon’s new world-class Art Museum and Bridge for Creative Learning to open

Bundanon will open the doors publicly to its new Art Museum and Bridge for Creative Learning from Saturday 29 January 2022, with an official ceremony and festival of events being held on Saturday 5 March 2022, including live music and performance. Bundanon will deliver three exhibition seasons annually, with a dramatically expanded range of on-site events including tailored learning and artistic residency programs.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP said Bundanon reflects the Morrison Government’s strong commitment towards a thriving and diverse creative and cultural sector in Australia: “We are pleased to see our investment in the Bundanon Trust, including a $6 million uplift in operational funding over two years and a $22.5 million capital investment, enable this preeminent national institution to transform its facilities and programming. This significant new architectural expansion will position Bundanon as a national tourist hub, expanding arts access in regional Australia, and increasing employment and economic growth in the Shoalhaven,” said Minister Fletcher.

Minister for the Arts Ben Franklin said the NSW Government is proud to be involved in the funding of the Art Museum that will ensure the protection of its Boyd collection for the public.

Minister Franklin notes: “The NSW Government is thrilled to have played its part in supporting the new Art Museum for Bundanon. The funding will enable the museum to maintain and protect the treasured Boyd collection for the enjoyment and education of future generations.”

Bundanon Chief Executive Officer, Rachel Kent said: “This expansion will widen public access, deepen engagement in creativity and the landscape, and position Bundanon both nationally and internationally. I look forward to this new chapter in Bundanon’s history – building on its past achievements and opening its doors to new audiences and generations, going forwards.”

Embedded within the landscape, the new 500m2 Bundanon Art Museum, designed by Kerstin Thompson Architects (KTA) will present a year-round program of exhibitions of modern, contemporary, and First Nations art, as well as new commissions. It includes a state-of-the-art storage facility that will house and protect Bundanon’s extensive $46.5 million collection of some 4,000 items. The design is a collaboration between KTA, landscape architects Wraight Associates with Craig Burton, and sustainable design engineers Atelier 10.

Kerstin Thompson, Director of Kerstin Thompson Architects comments: “The design is driven by Bundanon’s main imperative, as established by the Boyd family, to foster an appreciation for and understanding of landscape and art. We have placed the site’s ecology at the centre of the design with the new suite of buildings and landscapes responding to Bundanon as both subject and site of Arthur Boyd’s work, seeking to heighten the visitor’s appreciation for the sights, sounds, textures, and ecological workings of the landscape. Both the Art Museum and Bridge respond to current and future climatic conditions, with inspiration drawn from rural Australia’s trestle flood bridges.”

The Art Museum opens with the inaugural exhibition, From impulse to action, which draws on the creative energy of experimentation and runs from 29 January until 12 June 2022. Arthur Boyd’s drawings were often the basis for larger works in his lifetime, leading to collaborative and multidisciplinary projects. Exhibition curator Sophie O’Brien has selected twelve new commissions by Australian contemporary artists, working in a diverse range of disciplines. The new work by a younger generation of artists explores the energetic, raw, and generous spirit of Boyd, responding to this immediacy through choreography and film, photography and performance, weaving and sound, and clay from the Bundanon site. Participating artists: Arthur Boyd, Dean Cross, Rochelle Haley, Tina Havelock Stevens, Kate Jones, Jo Lloyd, Emily Parsons-Lord, Izabela Pluta, Uncle Steven Russell & Aunty Phyllis Stewart, Skye Saxon, Vivian Cooper Smith, Shan Turner-Carroll, and Kaitlen Wellington.

The Bridge is a 160-metre long by 9-metre-wide structure that spans the existing gully in the sloping hillside, housing a world-class creative learning centre, with break-out spaces. It offers accommodation for up to 64 guests and café and dining facilities offering sweeping views over the Shoalhaven River. The Art Museum and Bridge share an expansive public plaza near the existing nineteenth-century buildings. Both public groups and education audiences will be able to stay onsite for an immersive Bundanon experience.

The build has been supported by a $22.5 million investment from the Australian Government, $10.3 million from the NSW Government, and philanthropic support. The $34 million project will drive visitation and cultural tourism to the Shoalhaven region.  The Australian Government, in the last budget, announced additional uplift funding of $6 million over two years.

These new additions to Bundanon incorporate radical solutions to a changing climate, being defensible against fire and flood and with a net-zero energy target. The Bridge is treated like a piece of flood infrastructure with the architecture supporting the natural system of water flow across the site. The Art Museum and Collection Store are subterranean, with precious artworks housed and exhibited in an underground building that protects the works from diverse climate conditions and offers thermal stability in the form of the reinstated hill.

The Bridge encompasses Bundanon’s net-zero ambitions. Powered by solar panels it incorporates exemplary sustainability features including passive temperature management, black water treatment, harvesting and storing of rainwater, local materials throughout, and reduced reliance on fossil fuel sources.

The new facilities include the Ramox Café, which will feature seasonal paddock-to-plate menus, with quality produce sourced from the surrounding Shoalhaven region. Local wineries and breweries are championed in the drinks menu.

Entry to Bundanon will be free on the opening weekend, with timed entry to maintain social distancing. Tickets can be booked online from Thursday 20 January. For more information visit bundanon.com.au

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