Newcastle Art Gallery welcomes most visitors in a decade

World-class exhibitions, increased youth engagement and the growing appeal of the lucrative KILGOUR PRIZE has helped catapult Newcastle Art Gallery’s visitation numbers to their highest levels in 10 years.

Close to 77,000 people walked through the doors of the Gallery in 2018, up 14,000 or 23 per cent on 2017 and five thousand visitors more than in 2008.

“We’re absolutely delighted with what we were able to achieve for our local community and visitors to the city,” Gallery Director Lauretta Morton said.

“High quality exhibitions take time to develop, and what our visitors experienced last year was the culmination of years of hard work from the dedicated Gallery team.”

Twelve diverse exhibitions from a range of local and internationally recognised artists are behind the success.

Just two were toured from other venues, while the remaining 10 were developed inhouse by the Gallery and only exhibited here in Newcastle.

Highlights included OLSEN ORMANDY: a creative force exhibition and the KILGOUR PRIZE 2018 featuring winning artist Natasha Walsh.

“This artist followed her KILGOUR PRIZE 2018 win with the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship and the Mosman Art Prize – which of course have all significantly bolstered her career as a young artist,” Ms Morton said.

Regarded as one of Australia’s major art prizes, the Kilgour’s annual figurative and portrait painting prize awards $50,000 to an outstanding contemporary work of art. Last year, 400 entries were made by artists aged 18 to 90 from every state and territory. Applications for this year’s KILGOUR PRIZE 2019 have just opened.