WHEN Maitland's $8 million regional art gallery is officially opened today, the expected crowd of 700 people will be witness to not only the newest regional gallery in the state but one of the biggest.
The gallery has leapt from three small exhibition spaces to 11 spaces of varying sizes, including a dedicated children's interactive art space.
This month the gallery is hosting five major exhibitions and in future is expected to present significant travelling exhibitions from state and federal galleries.
The official ribbon cutting will be at 2pm by two of the gallery's patrons, iconic Australian artist Margaret Olley and philanthropist and art collector Ray Wilson.
High Street, Maitland, will be closed between Devonshire and Victoria streets.
The new gallery is just under 3000 square metres and has a cafe which can seat more than 100 people.
The new entrance to the building will house a gallery shop which, at one-third of its size, in 2007-08 had a turnover of more than $35,000.