THUMBS UP: New director of the Grafton Regional Niomi Sands starts in her role on April 16.

New director appointed for Grafton Regional Gallery

CLARENCE Valley Council has appointed a new director of Grafton Regional Gallery.

Niomi Sands, the curator at The Glasshouse in Port Macquarie, will begin her new position on April 16.

Ms Sands said she was very excited about her role and "new chapter" and the chance to share her passion for the arts with the Clarence community.

"From my understanding there's wonderful community support for the gallery and that's such a lovely thing to have. If you have the community behind you, you can do amazing things," Ms Sands said.

She is already very familiar with some aspects of the Grafton gallery's collections including the Lindt photographs and the Jacaranda Acquistive Drawing Award.

"We've hosted the JADA a number of times at The Glasshouse. It's always been one of our popular exhibitions. You have some amazing pieces here, it's a great community asset to have."

With the prospect of funding and expansion proposals in the air Ms Sands said it was definitely an exciting time to be involved with the Grafton Regional Gallery.

"I was at The Glasshouse for 10 years and saw it come out of the ground, from foundations to the amazing place it is today. To see an extension built (in Grafton) would be a really wonderful thing.

"I can see the potential and how it could be an even more amazing creative hub for a community like the Clarence Valley."

Before her tenure at Port Macquarie Ms Sands worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney as a registrar and various regional galleries in Newcastle where she grew up and went to university.

"I'm also a practising artist and currently enrolled in a doctor of visual arts at Griffith University," she said.

Ms Sands said she would be looking to include more creative programs to get more families involved with the gallery as well as connect with local lands council and indigenous communities and with local tourist providers.

Current director Jude McBean will retire from her role as director on March 23.