The Shire of Collie is set to get a dual boost to its culture and economy with the award of the construction of a new, fit-for-purpose art gallery in the town’s central business district to a local builder.
An independent assessment of White Building Co’s successful tender found it was both realistic and represented value for money.
The design included dedicated gallery space, which would be capable of hosting exhibitions of national and international significance. It would be the first purpose-built public gallery to be constructed in Western Australia since the State Art Gallery in Perth in the 1970s.
The gallery could become one of the premier tourist attractions in the South West region as well as providing artistic and cultural development opportunities for the region.
Shire of Collie President Wayne Sanford said the new art gallery was a key component of the revitalisation of the town’s central business district.
Collie is in the midst of an exciting and challenging phase. The construction of the art gallery is an important step in the Shire’s continued development as a vibrant, growing and sustainable community where people want to live, visit and invest,” said Cr Sanford.
Preparation and site works for the gallery would get underway immediately, with construction expected to be complete early in 2015.
The project is being funded through the Shire of Collie’s Supertowns allocation along with a grant of $500,000 being provided by Collie & Districts Community Bank Branch of the Bendigo Bank.
White Building Co owner Greg White said the company had been a part of Collie for more than 20 years and saw this investment as a positive step in showcasing the town as a vibrant and growing community.
“As a local builder with strong ties to the community, White Building Co was proud to be selected to collaborate on this project with the Shire of Collie and the Collie Gallery Group,” said Mr White. “The art gallery and cultural centre will expose the Collie community to events and activities that it previously has not had the opportunity to participate in, but will also encourage visitors to the town.”
The Collie Gallery Group Inc. will manage the operation of the gallery once it is constructed. Chairperson Elizabeth Lindsay said it was a landmark event for Collie and its surrounding districts.
“Research shows that when there is a significant investment in the artistic and cultural development of a town, it has positive ramifications for every area of the community,” said Mrs Lindsay. “We congratulate White Building Co on its achievement in securing the contract, and acknowledge the economic impact that this will have in Collie.”
Individuals and businesses are encouraged to join the gallery’s membership program, which has three distinct categories: Foundation members, Friends of the Gallery and Volunteers.
Above: Shire President Wayne Sanford, Collie Gallery Group Chairperson Elizabeth Lindsay and White Building Co owner Greg White gather on the site for construction of the new art gallery.