Northern Territory Government Newsroom

A first class home for art in Darwin’s CBD

The Giles Government is creating a brand new cultural institution for the Territory, unveiling plans for a dedicated visual art gallery in Darwin’s historic Chan Building.

Chief Minister Adam Giles and Arts Minister Gary Higgins joined Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) board chair, Allan Myers AO QC, to announce the $18.3 million project.

“The redevelopment of this magnificent new art space is being jointly funded by the Territory Government in Budget 2015, as well as generous contributions from external  sources,” Mr Giles said.

“This fantastic building is in a prime position for tourists and locals to access but it has sat idle and neglected for too long. It’s a travesty and we plan to put this right.

“The Chan Building will be turned into a state of the art exhibition space and will include a café and retail space, bringing more people into the centre of the city.

“It’s a building with a rich history as a former home of Territory Parliament and I’m excited to see it being repurposed as a world class art gallery.

“The redevelopment will cement Darwin’s position as a ‘must do’ arts and culture destination.

“The Territory economy is about much more than just oil and gas. Budget 2015 recognises that and supporting all aspects of our community  - the economy, the environment, society and culture.”

Arts Minister Gary Higgins said the Chan Building will become a second downtown campus for the MAGNT and will act as a new home for visual arts in the CBD.

“The possibilities are endless and exciting,” he said. “It will provide state-of-the-art space for prestigious collections as well as national touring exhibitions.

“The MAGNT at Bullocky Point will continue to present natural science exhibitions, as well as redeveloped galleries featuring Territory history and Cyclone Tracy, with a substantial anchor exhibition of Indigenous art continuing to be a focal point of the location.

“The redeveloped Chan Building will complement the Bullocky Point venue as well as offer local artists another option of exhibition space.”

The MAGNT Board has expressed its excitement at the expanded opportunities the new space will provide for arts in the Territory.

"By expanding its offerings and providing a venue in Darwin City, the MAGNT will be attracting more local visitors and, of course, more tourists, who will enjoy this new space,"  Mr Myers said. 

“The MAGNT currently receives more than 200 000 visitors a year and we can anticipate a great deal more people benefiting from this new and strategic location.

"This expansion plan for the MAGNT comes at a crucial time in our museum's history and will mark a turning point in its development."

****ATTACHED: Artist impressions of redeveloped Chan Building***

Media Contact:

For the Chief Minister - Danielle Parry, 0413 081 801

For Minister Higgins - Lorelei Fong Lim, 0400 165 743

Site Plan

Artist Impression 1

Artist Impression 2