Stout Trust grant takes Sarjeant Gallery close to fundraising target
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Stout Trust grant takes Sarjeant Gallery close to fundraising target

Stout Trust grant takes Sarjeant Gallery close to fundraising target

A six year campaign to raise $35 million to restore Whanganui’s historic Sarjeant Gallery is close to the target figure following the announcement of a $600,000.00 grant from the Stout Trust, managed by Perpetual Guardian.

Sarjeant Gallery Trust chairman Nicola Williams says 93 percent of the funds have now been pledged. She says a final push is needed to take the project over the finish line by the December deadline. A $10 million Government grant from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and $6 million of Lottery Board funding approved earlier this year are conditional on the Trust raising a further $2.2 million by 20th December.

Ms Williams says private trusts, businesses and individuals have thrown their support behind the ambitious fundraising project to restore the historic gallery and the finish is “tantalisingly close”. Ms Williams says fundraising efforts will continue in earnest over the next two months. She says naming rights at a range of pricing levels are on offer for as many as 10 spaces in the redeveloped gallery, with the premier spaces available for up to $1 million.

“We believe there are family trusts, corporate, businesses and individuals who will see the value in creating a legacy within a complex that will put Whanganui on the map as a leading centre for culture and the arts. “

Ms Williams says the re-development has been on the drawing board for many years.

“We have fought very hard and have come too far to fail at the final hurdle when we are so close to bringing it to fruition.” she says. “The project will ensure the preservation and seismic strengthening of an iconic Whanganui building that is one of New Zealand’s oldest purpose built galleries.

“It will also enable the Sarjeant Gallery to adequately store and display a brilliant nationally significant collection of more than 8000 works spanning 400 years of international and New Zealand art history.” The collection is currently stored in a temporary gallery in Whanganui that was set up following the closure of the historic 98-year-old Sarjeant Gallery, which meets only 5% of the current new building code.

The redevelopment includes earthquake strengthening and restoration of the existing historic building and construction of a new purpose built wing with storage, education, exhibition and retail spaces.

Developed design drawings have been prepared by Warren and Mahoney Architects. Once funds are in place detailed designs will be drawn up with construction due to get underway in late 2018 or early 2019.

Ms Williams says with the December fundraising deadline looming, all contributions large and small will make a difference. A Thousand Stars initiative enables people to make a weekly contribution of $5 a week over a four year period. Contributors can vary the amount and frequency of payments on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Over 350 have signed up to the Thousand Stars initiative.
Businesses are being encouraged to sign up to the Sarjeant Gallery Business Initiative with the option of making a one off payment of $5000, regular quarterly payments of $630 over two years or monthly payments of $210 for two years.

* NOTE: The Stout Trust was set up following the death in 1982 of Wellington scientist Dr John Stout to promote and preserve New Zealand’s cultural and environmental heritage. More recently, the Trust has benefited from a significant contribution following the recent death of John Stout’s sister, Vida Stout, also a prominent scientist, and the first woman to become a Dean of Science at a New Zealand university.