First glimpse of the new Bega Art Gallery

Bega Valley Shire Council and Sibling Architecture have unveiled architectural renderings of the new South East Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), which will redevelop and extend the former Bega Valley Regional Gallery.

The contemporary art space will be invigorated by Sibling’s expertise, having been selected following a public tender to oversee the renovation. The gallery will become a contemporary purpose-built space, with exhibition facilities channeling the region’s rich culture and natural environment.

The new SECCA gallery includes 500 m² of exhibition, archive, storage and workshop space along a new facade. The exhibition space has been increased from 180 m² to 290 m² and will include a state-of-the-art main gallery for traveling exhibitions.

A steel structure allows the roof to be raised four meters, the original facade giving way to large bay windows which allow the exhibitions to be seen from the forecourt, as well as visitors being able to contemplate the surrounding landscape.

“The new SECCA strengthens the gallery as a cultural destination located in this vast and beautiful region of NSW. SECCA will be an open platform where art can flourish and an ever-growing audience can participate, connect, be inspired and discover the best of local and global contemporary visual art,” said the director of the SECCA gallery, Iain Dawson.

“Our arts program will provide an artistic exchange of ideas, with future exhibitions and events building on the strong reputation the gallery has built over its 30-year history and emphasizing the introduction important visual and cultural arts in the remote area.”

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The new Chamber Gallery is a continuation of the old building, with curved walls displaying major works by Australian artists. The multipurpose project and studio space will host access and learning programs, community workshops, seminars and small exhibitions, while additional storage space will help house the gallery’s extensive collection.

Bespoke perforated aluminum panels form the facade of the building, with the movements of the sun casting different visuals throughout the day. Seating and native plantings are found among the forecourt, enhancing the visitor experience.

“Working on SECCA has been a unique opportunity, and I am delighted to have been involved in this important project which will help shape the cultural identity of the Bega Valley and the South Coast region,” says Sibling Architecture Director , Qianyi Lim.

“The Bega Valley Shire Council has been incredibly supportive, with a forward-looking vision of what gallery space could be for the community and its vast potential as a cultural center for years to come. It’s been a long journey and a real passion project for me so I can’t wait to see the gallery open its doors.

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The inner workings of the building have been refreshed, with air conditioning put in place to preserve the artwork, track lighting to allow for a flexible range of exhibition formats, and specialist humidity control. The SECCA is home to the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award and the collection of the Bega Valley Arts & Crafts Society.

The renovation was made possible by the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition program will be announced later this year.

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