Australian Government grants Bundanon Trust $22 million to secure Arthur Boyd’s vision

Bundanon Outdoor learning on terrace looking west - credit Kerstin Thompson ArchitectsThe Bundanon Trust has announced it has received a grant of $22 million from the Australian Government representing the final contribution towards $30.6 million required to embark on the dynamic design project for Bundanon Trust’s Riversdale site on the South Coast of NSW. The grant follows a commitment in June 2018 from the State Government of $8.592 million – the largest grant from the NSW Regional Cultural Fund.

“This funding will see Arthur Boyd’s vision for Bundanon finally realised,” said Bundanon Trust CEO Deborah Ely. “It was Boyd’s desire for his former residence, art collection and the stunning landscape of Bundanon to be shared with as many people as possible.”

“Bundanon Trust have worked for many years towards securing a home for the nationally significant art collection in their care, and to expand the in-demand creative art education programs for students which is so central to the Trust’s work. We are overwhelmed by the opportunity this funding allows.”

“The Trust will at last be able to showcase its unique collection, on the site where much of it was created. The Riversdale property can now be opened up to the public throughout the week enabling national and international visitors to the region to experience outstanding Australian art and architecture in a pristine bush setting.”

Bundanon Trust’s new development at Riversdale, designed by Kerstin Thompson Architects, will feature a lightfilled contemporary art gallery and storage component, submerged into the landscape, designed to display and house the Bundanon Trust’s $43 million art collection.

This new subterranean contemporary gallery will house 3,800 items, featuring 1,300 works by Arthur Boyd together with Boyd’s contemporaries such as Sidney Nolan, John Perceval, Joy Hester and Charles Blackman. The Collection also includes etchings by Goya and Picasso as well as pieces by Brett Whiteley, and contemporary works by artists such as Euan Macleod and Rosemary Laing.

In addition, the Trust has an archive of artist books, scripts, compositions and working models related to artwork developed on the properties through the Artist in Residence program. The scheme also encompasses a world-class creative learning centre for school students, a contemporary visitor hub, accommodation and cafe.

Sensitively embracing the existing landscape and its ecology, the design responds to current and future climatic conditions with inspiration drawn from rural Australia’s trestle flood bridges.

The new learning facilities will be housed within a new 140-metre-long by 9-metre-wide structure that at one end abuts the art gallery within the sloping hillside, continuing along to bridge an existing gully, and containing 34 bedrooms, teaching and dining space and public cafe.

The realisation of the Masterplan for Riversdale will not only see a financially and environmentally sustainable Bundanon Trust it will also bring great economic and employment benefits to the region. Shoalhaven City Council’s Regional Economic Modelling indicates that the development will create 69 on-going jobs and bring an additional $10 million in revenue annually to the Shoalhaven.

“This announcement is great news for the region,” said Minister for Communications and the Arts, Mitch Fifield. “This funding will see Arthur and Yvonne Boyd’s vision of a unique cultural asset for the nation further developed through the creation of a dedicated gallery showcasing and safeguarding the priceless Bundanon collection.”

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Image: Outdoor learning on terrace looking west – courtesy of Kerstin Thompson Architects