WORK on the $2.3-million expansion of Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery started on Monday.
Council said the project would bring about a cultural revitalisation of the city.
Mayor Kay Fraser was happy to see work get under way.
"The redeveloped art gallery will provide a high-quality cultural facility for the Lake Macquarie community and boost visitor numbers to the region," Cr Fraser said.
"The enhancements to the building will allow our gallery to better cater to the community through diverse and inclusive programs, with an emphasis on Aboriginal programming, contemporary art and artists, cultural tourism and public education programs."
Cr Fraser said council's Arts, Heritage and Cultural Plan, adopted in 2017, aimed to foster creativity through support and investment in urban and public art, place activation, creative industries, heritage and cultural development programs.
The gallery expansion was vital to the overall delivery of council's Art Heritage and Cultural Plan, and was part of council's vision to create a dynamic cultural precinct within the city, she said.
The modernised facility will have direct links with the proposed Speers Point Multi Arts Space and the recently unveiled Creative Lake Arts Trail at Warners Bay.
The project, due for completion in September 2019, includes extended collection storage and exhibition space, including dedicated space for contemporary Aboriginal art exhibitions and programming, covered outdoor programming space, a reconfigured entrance, new air-conditioning plant and additional photovoltaic cells.
The expansion was designed in consultation with the building's original architect, Colin Still.
Awaba House Restaurant and Cafe will remain open throughout construction.
The expansion is being funded by the state government through the Regional Cultural Fund in association with Lake Macquarie City Council.
The gallery was established in 1980, and was first housed in Lake Macquarie's former council chambers on Main Road, Speers Point.
From 1996 to 2000, the gallery was located within Awaba House and then, in May 2001, it was relocated to its current site at First Street, Booragul.
It is the Hunter's only lakefront gallery providing unique indoor and outdoor experiences to the more than 45,000 visitors each year, the council said.