Unbridled creative vision: $10 million of philanthropic funding spurs on a transformation of Melbourne’s Dodds Street police stables into a visual arts facility.

A project worth a total of $42.5 million will redevelop Melbourne’s historic Dodds Street police stables into a visual arts wing at the Victorian College of the Arts.

Announced last week by the University of Melbourne and the Victorian Government, the redevelopment project will strengthen the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music’s (MCM) position in the centre of Melbourne’s Arts Precinct.

The project is a significant milestone for Believe, the Campaign for the University of Melbourne. The four-year campaign was launched in May 2013 to help the University better tackle the next century’s “grand challenges”; understanding place and purpose, fostering health and wellbeing, and supporting sustainability and resilience.

Major gifts to the Campaign, including $5 million from the Ian Potter Foundation, $4 million from the Myer Foundation, and $1 million from Martyn and Louise Myer, played a key role in the getting the Dodds Street project out of the gates.

Generosity-melbourne-arts-precinctThe VCA win comes in on the heels of the recent release of a $900,000 study, ‘The Melbourne Arts Precinct Blueprintby the state government.

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said the redevelopment would transform the VCA and MCM campus in Southbank into an exciting destination for arts and cultural activity.

“The redevelopment project – the largest in the history of the VCA – will create public performance, event and exhibition spaces across the campus and surrounding streets, as well as a series of laneways, public thoroughfares and gardens,” Dr Napthine said.

“The VCA campus sits among some of Victoria’s pre-eminent arts institutions. This project will not only ensure that the VCA maintains its high standards in arts training and research, it will open up the campus to the wider community.”

The VCA expansion – projected to be complete in 2016 – will reportedly see the Mounted Branch of the Victoria Police move from the old Dodds Street stables to a new fit-for-purpose facility at its existing Atwood site.

Built in 1912, the Dodds Street stables were constructed “within fast galloping distance” of Government House.

To learn more about the Campaign for the University of Melbourne visit www.campaign.unimelb.edu.au

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