Gallery director Iain Dawson appears from behind a door in the South East Centre for Contemporary Art, a big grin on his face full of anticipation for Saturday's official launch.
He was smiling because he's one of the very few who have had the opportunity to see and work in the redeveloped space before it opens to the public on November 18.
Making the launch that much more special was the arrival of Archibald Prize 2023 portraits this week.
The official launch of SECCA will be on Friday, November 17, with Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick, federal member Kristy McBain and state member Michael Holland preparing to cut the ribbon.
Then doors will be opening to the public on Saturday with the Archibald Prize 2023 touring exhibition, and Mr Dawson was thrilled for the Far South Coast to come in and experience it.
"Seeing the community's reaction to the new gallery space, I think people who have known the Bega Valley Regional Gallery in its previous form for the last 30 years will be really excited to see the next step in our evolution," Mr Dawson said.
The redeveloped space will allow the gallery to exhibit works from any lending institute from across the world due to world-class lighting control so paintings would not get damaged, and world-class environmental control allowing temperature and relative humidity to be kept at an ideal state.
"We could present a Picasso in as much safety as you would in the National Gallery or the Art Gallery of New South Wales, or one of the international museums in the world," Mr Dawson said, excited at what this will allow the Bega Valley to showcase in the future.
"We're really excited about continuing our partnership with the Art Gallery of NSW, they've always been very generous in sharing their collection with any of the programming we've been doing.
"The NSW galleries collection belongs to the people of NSW, and they're very conscious of that and keen to get it out and seen outside of the metro areas, and that's the same with the National Gallery up in Canberra, very keen to share their collection."
SECCA has a second area called the Chambers Gallery, and a third called the Shirley Hannan Project Space, which is a place for pop-up exhibitions, workshops, public programs, or for special projects where the community can rent out the space for any of those activities.
Tickets for the Archibald Prize 2023 touring exhibition are available via secca.com.au/tickets.
There are timed entry tickets for 60-minute sessions at selected times, as well as flexible entry tickets allowing you to visit any session on the day of your booked visit.
Adults $20, concession/seniors/student $15, youth $10 (7-14 years), family $50 (2 adults and up to 3 youth), children 6 and under free. Flexible entry $26 per person.
There are also special late night bookings available on Thursdays, when the Archibald Prize 2023 exhibition will be open until 8pm.
$35 with North of Eden Distillery cocktail on arrival and live music or local DJs. $50 with a 'sip and create' class with a local artist as well
See secca.com.au/tickets for schedule of performers and artists.
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