Shepparton News

SAM fully open in November

- By John Lewis

After months of uncertaint­y and delays caused by COVID-19 restrictio­ns and lockdowns, the Shepparton Art Museum will finally fully open to the public on November 20.

The distinctiv­e $49 million fivestorey contempora­ry building at the south-eastern corner of Victoria Park Lake was completed in January after an 18-month build.

However, after a soft opening in March, only the ground f loor level has been open to the public because of COVID-19 restrictio­ns on visitor numbers.

In November all five levels of the building will be fully open to the public, with four spaces — The Lin Onus Gallery, People’s Gallery, Williamson Community Space and SAM Kids Space available for viewing.

SAM chief executive and artistic director Rebecca Coates said the opening would be an exciting time for the whole community.

“We’ve had a really challengin­g two years, and this is something the community of Shepparton can now look forward to and get excited about,” Dr Coates said.

She said COVID-safe activities inside and outside the building would take place over the weekend of Saturday, November 20 and Sunday, November 21.

Dr Coates said the museum would implement a ticketing system for timed entry and allow as many people in the building as COVID-19 restrictio­ns allowed.

City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe said the community was looking forward to exploring the whole SAM building.

“We all need something to look forward to at the moment, and a place where we can gather and feel connected. Whether that be through viewing art with others, enjoying great food and coffee at the SAM cafe´, or just admiring the fantastic job that Denton Corker Marshall have done in the building design,” Cr O’Keeffe said.

“We know in the future SAM will attract visitors from across the country and internatio­nally. The building is already getting national and internatio­nal acclaim.”

Cr O’Keeffe said it was also exciting to see the opening of Kialla’s Museum of Vehicle Evolution on Monday as another important tourist attraction for the region.

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