Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

MAGNT explores new art museum

Tamara Howie, Vision for art museum to revitalise dull CBD, NT News, 17 March 2017

Director of the NT Museum Marcus Schutenko.

A new art museum connecting the Darwin’s civic precinct and the Waterfront would reactive the CBD, according to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory board.

The MAGNT board said an art museum in the city was a key-focus for the next four years in the strategic vision for the organisation.

MAGNT director Marcus Schutenko said the plan was in its initial stages, with an economic and social impact statement being developed while conversations with key stakeholders take place.

“Darwin is the only capital city that doesn’t have an art museum. It is a key objective of this institution and we’ve identified that the civic precinct as an ideal space,” he said.

“The government is talking about ways to reactivate the CBD and we can see this as a real way to do that, particularly in the civic precinct to connect the CBD and waterfront.”

Mr Schutenko said the new facility would allow more of the collection to be displayed.

“MAGNT holds significant bodies of work in Aboriginal and South East Asian art and a fabulous Australian art collection made up from Territorian artists and some of Australia’s leading artists who have a relationship to the NT,” he said.

“A new art museum will allow these works to be seen and appreciated by locals and tourists alike.”

The current MAGNT premises at Bullocky Point would continue to showcase Aboriginal culture, natural sciences, history and art. “The Board agrees with the Northern Territory Government that our building at Bullocky Point is too small, and supports the government’s vision for an expanded and modernised principal facility.”

The idea of a premier art gallery in Darwin city was raised when the former CLP committed $18.3 million to build a contemporary art gallery in the Chan building.

The idea was scrapped when an application to heritage list the building was lodged and last month chief minister Michael Gunner said the Chan building should be demolished.

“What came of that discussion (with the CLP) was the recognition of how brilliant and fabulous it would be if Darwin had a great art building and now the Chan is off the cards we can actually build the building we want,” Mr Schutenko said

“The conversation started from the Chan and now a lot of people in Darwin are really enthusiastic, which is why the board has owned it as a key part of our strategic vision.”

Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2022
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