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Minister for the Arts, The Hon Tony Burke MP today announced that public and private support for the new Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has exceeded $6 million after he confirmed the Australian Government will contribute $1 million through the Australia Council towards this landmark project.

At a special reception hosted by the Australia Council in Sydney today, Chair Mr Rupert Myer AM praised key supporters of the much-anticipated redevelopment project and confirmed total pledges now exceeded $6 million. Mr Myer said, The generous support received for the new Australian Pavilion ensures it is firmly on track to open as planned at the 56th International Art Exhibition in 2015. It promises to be a stunning and distinctive addition to the Venice Biennale landscape and an important addition to Australia’s cultural infrastructure.

Addressing today’s reception, Mr Burke acknowledged assembled donors to the project and congratulated the architect for the new Pavilion, Denton Corker Marshall. Mr Burke said, Australia’s creative and philanthropic community has once again shown a willingness to support iconic works that symbolise Australia’s artistic creativity on a global stage. The Australian Government is pleased to partner with the many generous private supporters who have contributed to help this vision become a reality.

The private fundraising efforts for the new pavilion have been led by Australian Commissioner for the 2013 and 2015 Venice Biennales, Simon Mordant AM. Following an initial pledge of $1 million, the Mordant family increased its commitment to $2 million after seeing the selected design for the Pavilion.

Significant contributions have also been pledged by the Belgiorno-Nettis family, as well as Allan Myers AO QC and Maria Myers AO, Andrew and Cathy Cameron, the Nelson Meers Foundation and an anonymous donor.

The project has also captivated the attention of some of our most celebrated global artistic achievers with noteworthy support received from Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton, as well as Rachel Griffiths and her husband and visual artist Andrew Taylor, each of whom have been involved in opening previous Biennales in Venice for Australia.

I gratefully acknowledge the donors for their outstanding generosity and philanthropic leadership for the Pavilion redevelopment project, said Mr Myer. In particular, special thanks must go to Simon and Catriona Mordant. Their dedication and commitment to the arts in Australia is unrivalled and the success of this project is testament to their tireless commitment to fostering international interest in Australian artists.

Mr Mordant responded by saying, Today’s announcement is a significant milestone and a clear indication that we are full steam ahead to open the new Pavilion as anticipated in 2015. I am sure I speak for all donors when I say I am thrilled and proud to see this extraordinary vision close to being realised. The overwhelmingly positive response from the Federal Government, philanthropic and creative communities reflects a deep commitment to the Venice Pavilion and the excitement that surrounds the dynamic new design. Venice is the most important contemporary art and architecture exposition globally and Australia will be the focus of the world when this new Pavilion opens in 2015.

The new Australian Pavilion, designed by Denton Corker Marshall, will be the first 21st century building in the historic Biennale Gardens. Application and development approvals are being progressed in Italy with the assistance of the authorities in the city of Venice and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The first breaking of ground on the project is currently scheduled to commence in December, with capital works expected to take approximately twelve months.

Guests at today’s announcement were also provided with a copy of a new publication, which celebrates the existing Australian Pavilion as designed by Australian architect Philip Cox. The publication includes details of each short listed and the winning designs for the new Pavilion. The book was co-published by the Australia Council and Australian Institute of Architects, honouring the contribution the existing Pavilion has made to the arts and architecture.



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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