Warrnambool Art Gallery (WAG) - planning a new building

The cultural and creative economy

In 2020, 615,000 international visitors made their way to Victoria.

Of that number, 363,000 were cultural visitors – people who engaged in activities including visiting museums or art galleries.

These visitors were part of Victoria’s cultural and creative economy, worth $34.5 billion in 2020-2021.

To capture a share of this fiercely competitive industry, Warrnambool needs to develop world-class and unique cultural tourism experiences.

Developing Warrnambool’s creative economy by investing in creative and cultural assets, including the Warrnambool Art Gallery, has the potential to generate economic growth and social and economic development

At the June 2023 meeting, Council supported a recommendation to explore the feasibility and potential of developing a new Warrnambool Art Gallery on the existing site at the Civic Green, Liebig Street.

At its December 2023 meeting Council supported the release of the business case for community feedback.

You can read the business case in full here.


Community consultation

To date, the following community consultation has occurred: 

In 2021, the following consultation was conducted during the preparation of the Feasibility study. 

  • Ideas Board was active over the period 31 March to 23 April 2021.
  • An online survey receiving 138 responses
  • Stakeholder group workshops were held with arts sector (18 participants) and First Nation Peoples (19 participants), gallery staff and Foundation Trustees.
  • Interviews were conducted with 44 stakeholders over the period 9 April to 21 April 
  • A Gallery Visitor Survey was active over the period 31 March to 23 April 2021 - 190 visitors completed the survey. 

In 2022, the following consultation was conducted:  

  • An online survey received 82 responses
  • Public forum – 40 participants
  • Written submissions - 5 

Extensive community engagement will be undertaken after the business case development should Council proceed to the next stage.  This will ensure community and stakeholders are well informed and can continue to inform the process and provide feedback.

Community consultation 2021

Community consultation 2022


The existing gallery is significantly constrained by its building, which limits operational flexibility and the opportunity to present larger exhibitions and provide social and engaging spaces for activity.

Demand cannot be met for more interactive experiences, larger exhibitions, functions, and events. The building does not provide suitable storage for collection, loading or administration space.

The Gallery is the primary substantial visual art institution servicing south-west Victoria. The size of the current facility is not in step with the catchment area (about 120,000 people) which could be capitalised on with a stronger and expanded facility and offering. 

A feasibility study for a new Warrnambool Art Gallery was completed in 2021. The study was funded by Council ($100,000) while a philanthropic benefactor contributed a further $50,000. The process included extensive consultation with the arts sector and First Nation Peoples. The study looked at possible locations and determined the required spaces and functionality for a new gallery.

The study found that a new art gallery in Warrnambool could provide a major tourist and educational attraction and a stimulus for economic investment in the region and develop Warrnambool City’s market position as a regional destination for cultural tourism. An expanded Maar Nation Gallery could provide a link to the Tower Hill, Budj Bim cultural trail.

 2021 feasibility study