The Arts Upper Hunter Region has opened the State’s newest gallery after more than a year in construction. The Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre was unveiled on March 6, completing Singleton’s Townhead Park precinct. The precinct has been years in the making as a centre for tourism and community connection encompassing the Singleton Visitor Information Centre (VIC) showcasing Hunter Valley operators and products, as well as a café, playground, and children’s bike track.
Funded in partnership between Singleton Council and a $2.787 million grant from Create NSW, the $4.08 million building houses a 300 square metre of top-tier gall state-of-the-art gallery space and two artist workshops, one wet and one digital. The centre is also home to Singleton’s Civic Art Collection.
Along with Singleton’s Civic Art Collection, two other major exhibitions are on display to launch the first six months of opening. The inaugural exhibitions (6 March – 8 May), funded by the NSW Government’s Resources for Regions Program will feature new commissions by photographer Edwina Richards and Indigenous artist Debbie Becker, each of whom has a unique connection to Singleton and the Hunter Valley.
Council’s Director Organisation and Community Capacity, Vicki Brereton, said the centre’s innovative program provided engaging contemporary art exhibitions alongside a range of workshops and artist talks.
“Edwina Richards’ ‘We Are Singleton: Portrait of a Town’ celebrates the diversity and richness of the identity of the people who call Singleton home,” Ms Brereton said.
“This exhibition is designed to capture a moment in time in Singleton’s history, and images will be able to be viewed both in the centre and out of context in surprising public locations around our LGA that, together, tell the unique stories of Singleton – both the place and the people.
“Meanwhile, proud Wanaruah woman Debbie Becker has studied the intersection of recorded local history and Aboriginal narratives to track the evolution of indigenous land over the past 200 years in ‘Mapping Wanaruah / Wonnarua’.
“This series has been undertaken in consultation with local elders and brings together stories that highlight the enduring resonance of place.
“This project will deliver a vibrant new facility that will be the cultural epicentre for our community and the region, providing a space for the exhibition and creation of art, and a showcase of Singleton’s cultural identity.”
NSW Minister for Arts, Ben Franklin said the NSW Government is proud to have contributed $2.78 million towards this important cultural and tourism attraction.
“The new Singleton Arts & Culture Centre will be the Hunter Valley’s newest centre of creativity, showcasing the rich culture and heritage of the region,” Mr Franklin said.
“Importantly, it will also generate tourism and deliver economic benefits to the local community in the Singleton and Hunter Valley regions.”