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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Olley centre building to start soon

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Tenders for the construction of the Margaret Olley Art Centre, to be built as an extension to the Tweed River Art Gallery, will soon be called, with the $3.5 million facility due to open next year.

The extension is set to make the Tweed gallery arguably the state’s best regional art gallery, and will draw thousands of extra visitors each year.

The late great artist, who died in July last year, bequeathed $1 million from her estate in November last year for the establishment of the purpose-built extension, and the federal government later matched that.

And to help make the extension a real showcase for the gallery, former deputy prime minister Doug Anthony and his wife Margot generously donated just over 1,500 square metres of their land to accommodate it.

This was on top of the land in Mistral Road, Murwillumbah, that the Anthonys donated in 2001 for the gallery to be built on. The land was part of the Anthonys’ property.

Tweed Shire Council late last month exhibited the development application for the extension, which will feature a recreation of the late famous artist’s home studio in Paddington.

The extensions also include a separate artist-in-residence building, workshop space, storeroom and other galleries.

Award-winning Brisbane-based architect Bud Brannigan, who designed the original building, was re-engaged for the project.

Curator Sally Watterson spent some time in Sydney recently helping art historian Christine France catalogue and pack Olley’s belongings so they can be stored and eventually reassembled in the Tweed River Art Gallery.

Margaret Olley’s home and studio were famously chaotic as the artist was a bit of a hoarder of antiques, souvenirs, trinkets and other objects. The house will be sold and her ‘Hat Factory’, the ‘Yellow Room’ and kitchen will be recreated in the new extension.

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