The future redevelopment of Bega Valley Regional Gallery has hit a snag, with the state government rejecting an application for funding.
The BVRG and council were informed last week they were not successful in their application for $3.4million in the second round of NSW Regional Cultural Fund grants. The gallery had been told during round one its idea had merit and was invited to submit a more detailed application.
The Regional Cultural Fund is investing $100million over two years to strengthen regional arts, screen, culture and heritage across NSW.
So far, only two projects in the Bega Valley Shire have been successful in receiving money from this particular pool – Murrah Hall and Spiral Gallery – with a combined $88,000 in round one.
The Twyford Theatre project in Merimbula was also a prominent rejection 12 months ago. However, in a celebrated follow-up, it was granted $7.4million through the NSW government’s consolidated fund from the sale of Snowy Hydro instead.
Director of the BVRG Iain Dawson said he and his team are disappointed in having their application turned down, for the second time.
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Also particularly grating, Mr Dawson said, was the rejection letter being sent out on Friday, December 21, as many regional media outlets went into Christmas slowdown, effectively lowering the chance of public scrutiny of the decisions.
“Our aim has been to provide a facility for the visual arts that the community of the shire deserved,” Mr Dawson said.
“With three decades of growth and success, and as the only public art gallery south of Nowra, and east of Albury, we believed the Bega Valley Regional Gallery to be a perfect candidate to take advantage of this once in a generation funding opportunity.”
Council general manager Leanne Barnes said the BVRG redevelopment remains a “very strong proposal” and further opportunities for state and federal funding, as well as private bequests, would continue to be explored.
“It’s good we have all these wonderful opportunities for funding,” she said.
Ms Barnes said the council would also be seeking further feedback on the reasoning behind this most recent rejection.
In 2017, the 22,000 visitors to the BVRG – 40 per cent of whom were visitors to the shire – added $1.3million to the local economy.
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