THE $21 million expansion of the Newcastle Art Gallery has been approved by the Joint Regional Planning Panel.
The panel met this afternoon and has given the green light for the project, which will include increased exhibition space, a studio for the artist-in-residence, a new entrance and reception area, a 120-seat theatrette, function space, workshops, a 120-seat cafe, gallery shop and two retail spaces.
Detailed designs are expected to be complete in September, but a commencement date has not been set.
The council hopes to start work early next year.
About $14 million has been allocated to the project. This includes community donations, council contributions and a $7 million federal grant.