The Dandenong New Art (DNA) Redevelopment project for the former 1920s Masonic Hall at 5 Mason Street is an exciting initiative celebrating art and culture in Greater Dandenong.
Refurbishments and extensions will create Dandenong New Art – a new centre with facilities for touring art exhibitions, curated arts spaces, and space for community workshops and public programs.
As the former Masonic Hall is a significant heritage building, concept designs for Dandenong New Art respect the importance of the Masonic Hall while introducing a contemporary art space.
Dandenong New Art will consolidate central Dandenong’s growing reputation for arts participation and expression and will allow for a significant expansion of the Walker Street Gallery’s visual arts programs, building on its current 16,000 annual visitors.
The gallery will include:
- State-of-the-art exhibition spaces for touring and local artists
- Community, creative and workshop spaces
- Cafe and retail opportunities
- Active outdoor spaces along Halpin Way and Mason Street
- New and engaging public art
The redevelopment offers a unique opportunity to contribute to one of the city’s significant public cultural assets for those interested in making a difference for this and future generations in Greater Dandenong and beyond.
Stage 1 – Roof Restoration
Council allocated funds in its 2018-2019 budget to repair the existing Masonic Hall roof. Works were completed in early 2019.
Stage 2 - Demolition, Construction and Naming
- Early August 2020 – Construction commences
- 2024 – Construction expected completion
Construction commenced in 2020 and was halted in 2021 due to COVID and construction challenges. In July 2023, Council has resumed control of the site and construction has recommenced.
The tender specifications have also required the successful contractor to use a quota of local suppliers and employees throughout the build process, further supporting Council’s commitment to driving economic growth in our city.
Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on the construction industry and some required contractual negotiations, the opening of the new gallery in central Dandenong has been delayed. Completion is expected in 2024.
Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre will continue to operate for 2023 and 2024 with a fresh program to ensure continued arts exhibition services to our community.
On 12 July 2021, Council endorsed ‘in principle’ the proposed name for the new gallery in central Dandenong as ‘Dandenong New Art’ (DNA).
A standard 30-day public consultation period occurred from 16 August to 14 September on the proposed name. The consultation was done via direct mailouts, website, social media, media release and local print advertising.
Following this consultation process, on 15 November 2021, Council formally endorsed the name Dandenong New Art (DNA). Formal registration process of the name with the Office of Geographic Names begun.
Refurbish existing heritage Masonic Hall including adaptive reuses to gallery purpose/functions with addition to south side (Halpin Way) to include additional gallery space, lift, stairs, amenities and informal community gallery space, plus additional storage area to north side (Freemasons Lane) over two levels.