The Victorian Government will establish a National Centre for Photography in Ballarat in a major Budget boost that will attract visitors, support jobs and strengthen the city’s standing as a leading cultural hub.
The Government will invest $6.7 million to create the new centre, which will sit proudly alongside the Ballarat Art Gallery and the Post Office Gallery in what is fast becoming an iconic arts precinct for the city.
“The Ballarat International Foto Biennale is one of Victoria’s iconic regional events and the National Centre for Photography will allow it to contribute to Ballarat’s economy and jobs strength year-round,” said Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula.
The National Centre for Photography will be Australia’s leading photographic destination and will bring to life the vision of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, which has championed the creation of the centre since purchasing the 1860s heritage-listed Union Bank building on Lydiard Street.
The centre will feature state-of-the-art gallery spaces for major temporary exhibitions, opportunities for community artists to exhibit and a dedicated photobook library. In line with Ballarat’s Creative City Strategy, the centre will be multi-functional – allowing for educational workshop spaces and an artist-in-residence program.
Its curated public and education program will have the potential to attract thousands of new visitors to Ballarat. It will attract local, domestic and international artists and visitors through innovative year-round programming and international networking and collaboration based on the hugely successful Ballarat International Foto Biennale event.
The project is estimated to generate $75.7 million in economic benefit across the next 15 years, bringing more than 54,000 visitors over two years. Victoria’s Goldfields region contributed $1.4 billion to the state’s visitor economy to the year ending December 2019, with 5.7 million overnight visitors.
“Regional Victoria has so many talented creatives – projects like the Centre not only attract visitors to regional towns, they give artists a chance to keep their work local instead of having to go into Melbourne,” said Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes.
For more information about the National Centre for Photography, visit: www.ballaratfoto.org for details.
Image: John Gollings, National Centre For Photography, 2019