A colourful new chapter for the Grafton Regional Gallery begins
A colourful new chapter for the Grafton Regional Gallery begins Adam Hourigan

A splash of colour for gallery’s rebirth

WITH much of the new infrastructure in the Valley in the black and white of concrete, it was only fitting that Grafton Regional Gallery showed a bit more colour when it came to their turn to move soil.

The first sod on the massive redevelopment of the gallery was turned on Friday.

Bundjalung artist Danielle Gorogo's aerial view of treelines was wrapped around the shovel used to break new ground and hopefully bring a stronger connection between the gallery and the community.

The event marked what could be the gallery's own Christmas miracle.

The gallery's future was up in the air last year until it received a new lease on life thanks to a $7.6m grant from the NSW Government Regional Cultural Fund.

The expansion will include a national-standard main gallery, new workshops and exhibition spaces, a new cafe and better storage to protect its valuable collections from flooding.

With assistance from the Myer family, the grant application was put together and was said to be one of the most professional in the round of grants, according to Gallery Foundation chairman Rod Watters.

"It will create a new place, a new thing the whole town can be proud of, and we hope we can guarantee and live up to the support you've put in," he said in words to Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis.

"Arts are now a major reason why visitors come here to spend their tourist dollars, so this is a really big deal for the Clarence Valley," Mr Gulaptis said.

"This funding will help us build on an already terrific facility and we will have a focus on making it even more accessible to residents and visitors.

"It is a great result for the Clarence and will be a tremendous attraction."

The tender for the project has been awarded to O'Donnell & Hanlon whose recent projects include the Country University refurbishment in Pound St and the construction of Grafton Library.

It is expected to be finished late next year.

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