The National Gallery of Victoria has received $74 million (AU$100 million). The donation was from the family of an Australian billionaire and philanthropist. The aim was to fund a new building dedicated to contemporary art amid a lack of public funding.
The new Fox: NGV Contemporary space, which will be located in Melbourne’s arts district, will be named after donors, supply chain mogul Lindsey Fox and his wife, Paula, who sits on the NGV foundation’s board of directors. The government, which oversees the Australian state of Victoria and its cultural sector, has invested $1.3 billion (AU$1.7 billion) to expand the hub that houses the NGV fuel complex.
Funding was first received in November 2020 as part of a state-supported initiative to redevelop the Melbourne Southbank Arts Centre. But the museum needed more funds than was originally approved in the original government plan. Therefore, the management of the institution had to look for a private sponsor to support the new contemporary art project, according to a report published by The Guardian.
This is the largest gift promised to the country’s art museum by a living donor. The Fox family funded the NGV project for two decades. For the current project, the museum received another $20 million from the Ian Potter Foundation, a charity founded in 1964 by a prominent Australian financier.
The building will be the third property owned by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), which will include a 43,000-foot exhibition space with a 130-foot-tall circular hall located on the Southbank behind NGV International. Australian architecture firm Angelo Candalepas and Associates has been selected to design the new space.
The 161-year-old Melbourne Museum has long been supported by large donations from private donations. In 1904, pharmacist Alfred Felton posthumously donated half of his fortune to fund the museum. The gift is intended to significantly expand the scope of the museum. The new space is estimated to attract another 1 million visitors to the art zone.
In a statement, museum director Tony Ellwood said the project will become a global beacon for tourism and a leading cultural destination in the region. Daniel Andrews, head of government for the state of Victoria, called the Melbourne Museum Center transformation plan the largest cultural infrastructure project ever undertaken in Australia in a statement announcing the plan in 2020.
In addition to exhibiting contemporary art, the new space will feature works spanning the categories of design, fashion, and architecture.