Future unclear for historic Braemar Gallery

Springwood’s historic Braemar Gallery will close for at least 18 months without an alternative full-time exhibition space during the civic centre upgrade, it has been announced.

Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) has requested the Braemar Gallery Committee close the gallery while the Springwood community and cultural facilities are under construction, however a timetable has not been set for its re-opening.

“The requested period of closure is from January 2013 to late 2014, with a minimum period of 18 months but potentially longer,” a council spokeswoman said.

“The Braemer Gallery Committee has been notified of the need for the closure in writing and meetings have been held with committee members to discuss their needs and the necessary arrangements to be made.

“Council will continue to liaise with the Braemer Gallery Committee regarding arrangements for storage of gallery equipment during the construction period, a suitable time for reopening of the Braemar Gallery, and also on the range of opportunities that the new facilities will offer.

“Council is unable to offer the gallery a full-time alternative display space for the duration of the construction but is happy to consider opportunities for specific exhibitions being held in other council venues during the period of construction.”

A spokesperson said the committee was “concerned and uncertain” about the gallery’s future.

The Green Party candidate for Ward 3, Michael Aaronson, is also concerned about the issue, saying the committee needed some assurance over the gallery’s future.

The stage three plan for the Springwood upgrade only showed Local Studies occupying Braemar House, with no mention of the gallery, he said.

“The big question is will they be allowed back in?” Mr Aaronson told the Gazette.

“They should have assurance they will be able to move back into Braemar House and occupy the three rooms they are occupying right now.”

Stakeholder workshops held between eight groups in February did not include the gallery committee, and Mr Aaronson planned to attend last night (Tuesday’s) council meeting to address the issue.

“They should have been included and should be included as a stakeholder from now on,” Mr Aaronson said.

Mr Aaronson stated on his website — springwoodforum.org — that Local Studies had also been asked to leave Braemar during the upgrade, and that the building could be used for other purposes such as a site office.