New University-designed cultural facility to put Lake Macquarie on the MAP

Friday, 18 December 2020

Work will start early in the New Year on an Australia-first arts pavilion set to cement Lake Macquarie as one of the premier cultural destinations in NSW.

sod turn event
L-R: Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, Mayor Kay Fraser, Master of Architecture student Samantha Bailey, and Minister Don Harwin.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin and Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser led a sod-turning for the $3.5 million Multi Arts Pavilion, designed in collaboration with the University of Newcastle’s School of Architecture and Built Environment, at Speers Point Park today.

Mr Harwin said the NSW Government is committed to supporting projects that create greater opportunity for community interaction with all forms of artistic expression.

"This project is one of 136 projects across NSW supported by the Regional Cultural Fund that are making a real difference to arts and culture in communities big and small right around the state," Mr Harwin said.

Cr Fraser said MAP, Australia’s first purpose-built multimedia arts pavilion, would attract up to 45,000 additional visitors to the City annually.

“Set in one of the east coast’s most beautiful lakeside parks, MAP will increase local tourism revenue by an estimated $2.5 million a year,” Cr Fraser said.

“MAP will add to what is already one of our region’s recreational and event hubs.

“Its performances, shows and outdoor events will bring new life, energy, sound and creativity into Speers Point Park after hours.”

Council’s Manager Arts, Culture and Tourism Jacqui Hemsley said the project had already attracted national interest and would contribute towards shaping the future of art experiences in Lake Macquarie and the region.

“We want to build an immersive experience that creates a connection between location, art and audience that visitors won’t find anywhere else,” Ms Hemsley said.

“MAP is an agile and flexible venue in a high-use location. It will be an ideal stepping-stone for emerging artists, and a platform to present alternative productions to new audiences.

“We will be hosting engaging, experimental and unusual works and public programs from local, national and international artists. MAP will form part of the newly established Lake Arts Precinct, an arts and cultural hub in northern Lake Macquarie featuring the recently renovated Museum of Art and Culture and the Creative Lake foreshore art tourism trail.”

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO said he was delighted to be there for such an important stage in the new focal point for arts and culture in Lake Macquarie.

“We can’t wait to see Samantha Bailey’s design come to life,” Mr Zelinksy said.

“Giving our students the opportunity to get real-life experience while they’re still studying is a focus for our institution – it's what makes them ready for life after university.

“Our partnership with Lake Macquarie City Council is enormously important – we know that by working together we can achieve great things for our communities. MAP is just one example.”

Expressions of interest are also open for two major public art pieces to feature at the venue including an illuminated artwork to be installed on the exterior of the building and an external artwork to be installed in the grounds. Artists interested in submitting an application can apply online at lakemac.com.au/For-business/Tenders-expressions-of-interest-and-grants.

To stay up-to-date with the progress of construction, visit lakemac.com.au/Projects/Multi-Arts-Pavilion.

The project is funded by the NSW Government through its Regional Cultural Fund, and by Lake Macquarie City Council.

About MAP

At the edge of the largest coastal saltwater lake in the southern hemisphere, on the traditional lands of the Awabakal people, is a site that will soon boast Australia’s first purpose-built multimedia arts pavilion, MAP.

Built to complement the Museum of Art and Culture, MAP allows a whole new branch of international and national creative presentation. In the classic true style of the Venice Biennale, MAP takes onboard the characteristics of northern hemisphere arts pavilions.


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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.