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NSW Government Is Putting $40 Million Towards Attracting Blockbuster Exhibitions to the State

$220 million will also be provided to cultural institutions to help fund renovations and upgrades.
By Ben Hansen
June 21, 2021
By Ben Hansen
June 21, 2021

With the New South Wales State Budget set to be announced on Tuesday, June 22, some details on where funding will land have begun to trickle through. One such tidbit should see more blockbuster art and cultural exhibitions arrive on Australian shores, with $40 million being invested in the state's cultural institutions to help fund major exhibitions throughout NSW.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the funding will aim to "establish Sydney as the nation's cultural capital by securing world-class exhibitions that will attract tens of thousands of people through the doors of our iconic museums and galleries." Perrottet also said that he hoped the funding would help attract interstate visitors — and eventually entice international travellers to Sydney when borders reopen.

Installation view of the 'Streeton' exhibition at Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Photo: Jenni Carter, AGNSW

Alongside this $40 million investment, an additional $220 million will be invested in Sydney's cultural institutions so that they can undertake necessary upgrades and other capital works, with total operational funding to cultural institutions set to come in at $361.6 million. Two venues that will receive a significant portion of the funding: the Art Gallery of NSW and Australian Museum. Both are currently undergoing upgrades, and will nab receive government funding to help expand their operations.

Thanks in part to the new funding over the next four years,  Sydneysiders can look forward to new Egyptian exhibition Ramses The Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs, as well as a huge showcase that'll focus on sharks — both at the Australian Museum. Ramses will premiere in the summer of 2023 with more than 180 rare artefacts, while Sharks will debut at the museum from winter 2022 until summer 2023, before touring across the globe.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin also said we can expect the funding to help "bring Alexander McQueen's designs to NSW and take Catherine Martin's collections around the world".

The final element of the government's arts funding is financial support to provide free general admission to galleries and cultural institutions in and around Macquarie Street such as the Australian Museum, Sydney Living Museums and Hyde Park Barracks. That's set to kick in for the next 12 months, although the exact dates haven't yet been revealed.

Anna Kucera

For more information about NSW's newly announced cultural funding, head to the NSW Treasury website. The NSW State Budget will be handed down on Tuesday, June 22.

Top images: Jenni Carter, AGNSW; Anna Kucera, MCA; Australian Museum.

Published on June 21, 2021 by Ben Hansen

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