The Mosman Art Gallery should become a cultural focal point for the local community and the built environment. It could be a place for the local community to meet, discuss, observe and learn.
The Mosman art collection comprises modern and contemporary Australian paintings, drawings and prints primarily acquired through over 60 years of the Mosman Art Prize. Mosman boasts a uniquely vibrant artistic community and a proud artistic tradition with many residents actively involved or supportive of artistic activity. The Art Gallery could become the nexus of local art practice, study and patronage, focusing on showing temporary exhibitions by regional artists, with the capacity to exhibit state and national touring exhibitions.
This type and standard of facility would be unique on the North Shore area thereby becoming an important piece of cultural infrastructure within the greater North Sydney region.
The functionality of the existing building is limiting the potential of the Mosman Art Gallery. The former Methodist Church was designed in 1915 by Burcham Clamp & Walter Burley Griffin and is of immense cultural and heritage value. Nevertheless, this heritage value will not allow spatial expansions or refinement that are necessary to create a suitable gallery. A particularly evident example is the lack of a functional loading dock and sufficient storage to attract larger touring exhibitions. “The core spaces of the building, the galleries, are well below the standard that could reasonably be expected in an exhibition building of this size and potential status.” (Mosman Art Gallery Refurbishment Feasibility Study, Paul Berkemeier Architect Pty Ltd)
In addition to spatial constraints, the classical architectural expression of the building and its distance from Military Road reduce its popularity as a Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery.
The gallery has the potential to become a truly dynamic component of the Civic Centre scheme, capitalising on the latent art culture within Mosman and galvanizing the scheme as a whole.
The strong recommendation of the “Mosman Art Gallery Refurbishment Feasibility Study, Paul Berkemeier Architect Pty Ltd” was the relocation of the art gallery to another site due to the compromised quality of the existing building. This ‘Return Brief’ will reiterate this recommendation for the following reasons. A New Mosman Art Gallery can interface with the public spaces activated by the Library and Spit Junction. The shared aspiration of these community facilities could become evident in overlapping spaces and a synergetic relationship. The quality and diversity of the Mosman Art collection would become easily accessible and conveniently available, creating a new cultural attraction to stimulate the Civic Centre site. Mosman would be the home of a contemporary gallery that will celebrate, catalogue, conserve and inspire Australian Contemporary Art. In addition, the ‘Community Gallery’, studio space and artist’s residencies will further cultivate the latent art culture of Mosman