Arts facilities upgrade

Project: Upgrades to the Basil Sellers Exhibition Centre and the Mechanics Institute

Timeframe: Mid-2022 to mid-2024

Status: Complete

Cost and funding: $162,000 comprising:

  • NSW Government $150,000 contributed from Create NSW as part of the Creative Capital – Strengthening community access and sustainability
  • $12,000 from Council

Page last updated: July 2024


The Mechanics Institute is a well-loved historical building often used as a meeting place and exhibition centre.

Our primary exhibition facility, the Bas, is closed for two weeks to de-install and install after each programmed exhibition. Upgrading our older Mechanics Institute has enabled the facility to be used as an extension to our primary facility during these closures.

We are working to:

  • improve display, sound, and lighting quality in Mechanics Institute and the Bas
  • build an accessible ramp to the Mechanics Institute
  • upgrade the kitchen of the Mechanics Institute
  • install heating and cooling in the Mechanics Institute
  • upgrade technical and digital capacity in the Mechanics Institute and the Bas to broaden art experiences and inclusion of younger and digital artists.

Benefits to the community:

  • improved exhibition capability and increased comfort and functionality of the Mechanics Institute
  • ability to feature digital interactive and immersive art programs
  • better meet the needs of people in the community including those with hearing, mobility and other disabilities
  • support a larger range of art installations/exhibitions and better audience experience
  • broaden art experiences and inclusion of younger and digital artists.

Project updates

June 2024

All planned improvements have been completed.

March 2024

  • Our contractors have installed heating and cooling ducted air conditioning creating a much more comfortable environment for exhibitions and events.
  • In order to expand and improve our exhibition capability, we purchased and installed:
    • an updated hanging system
    • a laser projector
    • custom plinths
    • additional lighting.
  • We purchased teardrop banners that can be displayed when exhibitions are open.
  • We have purchased outdoor cafe tables and seating as well as cafe kitchen equipment. The new seating will be installed by Easter.

September 2022

  • Our contractor has installed acoustic panelling in the Bas.

August 2022

  • We started work at the Mechanics Institute. So far, we have upgraded the kitchen including building the accessibility ramp. We've also increased storage and shelving and installed blackout blinds.

More information

For more information please contact Council's Coordinator Creative Arts Development, Indira Carmichael: