NEW LOOK: A digital impression of what the new Lismore Regional Gallery would look like. The council hopes having a preferred architect will help attract federal funding.
NEW LOOK: A digital impression of what the new Lismore Regional Gallery would look like. The council hopes having a preferred architect will help attract federal funding. Dominic Finlay Jones Architects

Vision for Lismore art gallery and hub

AN architectural vision for a new art gallery and cultural hub in Lismore will help underpin the council's latest push for federal funding for the project.

Bangalow-based firm Dominic Finley-Jones has been singled out as the preferred architect for the new art gallery after a competition run by a Lismore City Council committee narrowed down a field of 17 hopefuls.

The 'preferred architect' status needs to be ratified by the council at a meeting planned to be held tonight, Mayor Jenny Dowell said.

The broad idea is to refurbish the old high school into an art gallery adjacent to the library and conservatorium to create an arts or cultural hub in the Lismore CBD.

Last month the council was told it had missed out on a $2.3m funding application under the Federal Government's National Stronger Regions Fund.

The council was keen to reapply for the art gallery funding in the fund's next round, which will be decided in December, Cr Dowell said.

The council had been speaking with Page MP Kevin Hogan, as well as with the office of Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss to find out how the bid could be improved.

"We were told we had a strong application that could be improved in small ways," Cr Dowell said.

Having a preferred architect and detailed designs to support the new application would help to detail exactly how and where the funds would be spent, and improve the next application.

The new application would also clearly state how a new art gallery would help people in the area who were experiencing social disadvantage.

The art gallery would have free entry, run plenty of programs for children and consult with local Aboriginal groups.

There would also be a range of ways for people with disabilities to access the proposed gallery.

Cr Dowell said the council was entitled to make two requests from the fund without ranking the proposals.

It would consider asking for funding to improve the sewage treatment plant at South Lismore as its second request.

The exact form of the funding application would also be discussed at tonight's ordinary council meeting.

Although funding can go as high as $10 million per project, Cr Dowell said it was likely the council would apply for $10 million across the two projects.

"We don't want to be overly demanding," she said.



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