Chau Chak Wing Museum announces Sydney donors and architect

23 May 2016
Alumni generously support new museum

Two of Sydney's most significant arts patrons are donating $1.75 million to the Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney.

Exterior shot of the Macleay Museum

The Macleay building will be redeveloped for the Chau Chak Wing Museum.

The donations coincide with the appointment of Sydney firm, Johnson Pilton Walker to build the new 6000 square metre museum which will house the University’s Macleay, Nicholson and University Art Gallery collections alongside key works from the Power Collection.

The Nelson Meers Foundation, a major supporter of the arts since 2001, is contributing $1 million and Penelope Seidler, the distinguished architect, is donating $750, 000.  The gifts will fund two galleries displaying a mixture of art and artefacts.

Nelson Meers AO and his daughter, Samantha Meers, are both alumni of the University. 

“I’m delighted to that we are able to participate in the creation of a vibrant hub for interdisciplinary exchange which will give students, scholars and the broader community greater access to the breadth and richness of the University’s collections”, said Mr Meers.

“I believe the Museum will make an important contribution to the Australian cultural dialogue by enabling the display of historical and contemporary treasures together.”

Penelope Seidler was a student at the University of Sydney when JW Power made a bequest worth $55 million in 1962 and remembers the electrifying effect of the gift. 

“I am thrilled to be associated with this museum which will allow so many unseen works from these marvellous collections to finally be on display,” she said.

“I was especially pleased that the museum will feature works from the Power Collection, significant artworks from the 60s, 70s and 80s, including works by JW Power himself.

“Power was an accomplished modernist who deserves to be better known by Australians.” 

I believe the museum will make an important contribution to the Australian cultural dialogue...
Mr Nelson Meers

Dr Michael Spence, the University’s Vice-Chancellor commented, “It’s wonderful that these donors, with longstanding associations with the University and Australia’s cultural heritage, are building on those relationships with these significant gifts.”

The Chau Chak Wing Museum will redevelop the historic Macleay and adjacent Edgeworth David Buildings, connecting the two via a new modern extension.

“The Macleay Building was the southern hemisphere’s first purpose-built university museum,” said the University’s Director of Museums and Cultural Engagement David Ellis. “The generosity of our donors and the experienced architects of JPW mean we are now able to transform the Macleay back to its original purpose and make additions to create a new, vibrant museum, and engaging learning space for students.”

JPW won Australia’s Harry Seidler Award for commercial architecture for the past two years running. Its extensive work with cultural institutions includes completing master plans for the Australian Museum, the South Australian Museum, the Western Museum and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The museum, established by a $15 million donation from Chinese-Australian entrepreneur Dr Chau Chak Wing, is due to open in 2019.

With every gift to the University of Sydney, donors become part of INSPIRED – the campaign to support the University of Sydney.

Verity Leatherdale

Manager, Faculty Media and PR
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