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Signature gallery closes its doors for upgrade

Auckland City Council
Media release

28 February 2008

Signature gallery closes its doors for a picture perfect upgrade

Auckland Art Gallery’s main gallery building closes its doors on Friday, 29 February 2008, clearing the way for a major upgrade over the next two and a half years.

The closure allows the gallery team to complete work decommissioning and relocating art works to storage before construction starts in April. The newly developed gallery is scheduled to reopen in late 2010.

During construction, a programme of exhibitions and events will continue at Auckland Art Gallery’s New Gallery building, on the corner of Lorne and Wellesley streets.

The Mayor of Auckland city, Hon. John Banks says he is pleased that years of planning are turning into action.

“The Auckland Art Gallery development is one of the largest heritage restoration projects ever undertaken in New Zealand,” says Mr Banks.

“We are ready for action and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished gallery, which will be a real asset for the city. We will have a stunning modern addition to an already magnificent heritage building restored to its former glory.”

Councillor Noelene Raffills, Auckland Art Gallery board chairperson, says Auckland City Council’s signature gallery is one of the city’s most beautiful historic buildings, but is not up to today’s modern standards for art museums.

“The gallery is going to be bigger – half as big again – with much more exhibition and display space. It’ll have a larger auditorium, a new cafe and gallery shop, better lighting and sound, as well as dedicated education, children and family spaces,” says Ms Raffills.

Auckland Art Gallery director Chris Saines says the gallery closure is a significant milestone in the eight-year history of the project.

“We started initial planning for this upgrade back in 2000 when it became evident the gallery needed seismic strengthening. It’s been a long and at times challenging journey so I’m delighted that the project is now underway, allowing Auckland Art Gallery to join the ranks of major art museums internationally.”

Mr Saines says preparing for the renovation and expansion has been a strategic operation.

“Relocating staff, carefully storing many of the country’s national treasures as well as moving our events and exhibitions programme is just some of the work that has occupied the gallery team over the last few months,” he says.

“It’s a great relief that the project is gaining momentum and we look forward to watching the gallery take shape over the coming months.”


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