An extension to the Queanbeyan Art Society gallery at Trinculo Place is under way after receiving state government and council funding.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Mayor Tim Overall attended the gallery on Friday to officially launch the extension.
A new workroom will be added to the heritage site leaving the current workroom as a permanent hanging space.
The art society has received more than $100,000 in funding for the works. The state government provided $90,000 with the council providing a heritage grant of $15,000 and members fundraising almost $10,000.
Mr Barilaro commended the work of the volunteers who run the art society.
“It’s our job to support community groups that support themselves,” he said.
“It is great to be working with the Queanbeyan Art Society on this worthy project, and to be providing this significant amount of money to a deserving local cultural group.”
Mr Barilaro also acknowledged the importance of the art society as part of the riverfront area which he called “the focal point in Queanbeyan”.
Art society president Barry Cranston said there had been some construction issues due to the heritage qualities of the building and the site falling in the flood zone area.
However he said the funding had allowed the society to overcome those issues and secure the development.
The society’s secretary Rosanna Burston said they hoped to use the extra space to introduce more youth art programs. “It’s just like a sports team,” she said.
“You need young people here willing to take over in the future and provide energy and new ideas.”
She said the society would reach out to Queanbeyan and Karabar high schools to develop a relationship with interested students.
Young people will be invited to enter work in a youth art show in October that won’t be open to members.
At the launch Cr Overall spoke about the council’s plans for the riverfront area, including a redevelopment of the Queanbeyan Tourist Park and another river crossing. He said the art gallery was an important part of these plans moving forward and commended the effort of the society’s volunteers.