22 December 2017
Whanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery Trust is delighted to receive confirmation from Government of a $10 million contribution from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund towards the $34.9 million Sarjeant Gallery Queens Park redevelopment.
Meeting the funding conditions set in the government’s time-limited offer has been a crucial step to ensuring the long awaited Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui project will become a reality.
The decision letter from Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage says she is supportive of the project and has instructed her officials to proceed with drafting the funding agreement. The letter confirms the Prime Minister is looking forward to celebrating the project’s completion.
The Government’s funding will be released in stages during the construction period.
Trust chairman Nicola Williams says Government support has been critical to the project and getting confirmation of the funding prior to Christmas is the best possible news.
“It’s also an endorsement of the national significance of the 98-year-old heritage gallery and its collection which spans 400 years of international and New Zealand art history,” she says.
Ms Williams says the project could not have made it to this point without the support of Whanganui District Council and a huge financial contribution from the private sector.
“The Sarjeant Gallery is well loved by many New Zealanders. We have been overwhelmed at how people have embraced the project, against all the odds, showing extraordinary generosity that has gone way beyond expectation.”
She says fundraising for the re-development is continuing and the Trust is confident of raising the balance of the capital required during the construction phase.
Mayor Hamish McDouall says the fundraising effort so far has been exceptional and will make sure the philanthropy and vision of the original benefactor Henry Sarjeant will live on.
“What has been achieved so far is a staggering accomplishment by everyone involved and will be hugely beneficial for the Whanganui region.”
Detailed design work for the redevelopment is due to be completed next year with construction timetabled to start in 2019.