Sydney philanthropists and arts patrons Dr Gene Sherman and Brian Sherman will gift $2 million toward the new College of Fine Arts gallery destined for Sydney's Oxford Street, Vice-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales, Professor Fred Hilmer, announced today.

The Architectus-designed building, due for completion in early 2013, is a key feature of the Gateway@COFA project, a multi-million dollar redevelopment of the COFA campus in Paddington. The new building will give the city its third major public art gallery.

The new facility will include two purpose-built galleries to be known as the Sherman Gallery and the Waterlow Gallery. The latter is in memory of Nick Waterlow, former curator of COFA'S Ivan Dougherty Gallery, who died last year. Of the Sherman gift, $500,000 will be allocated to the Waterlow Gallery.

The Gateway@COFA development is primarily funded through a $48 million grant from the Federal Government. Further support is being sought to fund the gallery.

Professor Hilmer said: "Dr Gene Sherman and Brian Sherman are significant benefactors to the visual arts and we are very pleased to welcome them into the UNSW/COFA community.

"I can think of no better way to launch our fund raising campaign for the new gallery than this extraordinary leadership gift."

"Nick was a close friend and colleague and a great mentor to me and many other people," Dr Gene Sherman said. "For over 30 years he played a leading role in shaping the visual arts scene in Sydney, nurturing generations of art students and mentoring curators, arts administrators and countless other arts professionals through his teaching. It is wonderful that we can remember him in this way."

Brian Sherman, co-founder of the animal think-tank Voiceless, said: "The Sherman family is proud to be formally linked with UNSW and more specifically with COFA. Our contribution will help build on the excellent reputation in art and design education that COFA has pursued for many years."

UNSW Chancellor David Gonski said: "Dr Gene Sherman and Brian Sherman have done, and continue to do, an enormous amount for the arts in Australia and the Asia region. This generous gift signals their commitment to the future of visual arts and art education in this country."

In expressing appreciation for the Sherman family's gift, COFA Dean Professor Ian Howard said the College's School of Art History and Art Education would be renamed the Sherman School of Art History and Art Education.

"The Gateway@COFA project will provide our students with state-of-the- art learning, teaching and laboratory facilities," Professor Howard said. "The new gallery will open up the campus to Oxford Street, in line with the City of Sydney's vision of the area as a future arts and cultural hub.

"It is fitting that it should pay tribute to the memory of our colleague Nick Waterlow. I would like to thank the Sherman family, on behalf of COFA'S staff and students, for this significant gift."

The $2 million gift continues the Sherman family's ongoing benefaction to arts education, schools, art institutions, museums and galleries across Australia stretching back 20 years.

More information on the COFA@Gateway project is available here.

About COFA

UNSW's College of Fine Arts is Australia's leading art, design and media school and the pioneer of collaborative, studio-based teaching and learning. It has produced many of Australia's most eminent artists, designers and theorists.

The site in Paddington has been the home of arts education for almost half a century, and home for COFA since the College's inception in 1990.

The gallery fronting Oxford Street will have unprecedented capacity to present world-class digital art and design works.

Media contact: Susi Hamilton | 02 9385 1583 | 0422 934 024