Grafton Bridge precinct

  • Project typeCommunity Development
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The Clarence Valley community has told us that public art is important to you as part of our Cultural Plan in 2018. The art at the Grafton Bridges Precinct was of particular note. Council is working to protect and encourage public art, while considering the significant built heritage and safety of the artists and community.

The Building Bridges Project is funded through the NSW State Government Stronger Country Community Fund

The project scope is to facilitate public artworks, involve community groups and organisations and activate the entry into Grafton and continue down the new entrance to Grafton via Pound Street to the Grafton Library. The Building Bridges project celebrates the Clarence River, Aboriginal culture, and local community.

It will help promote the community cultural precinct that is currently developing through the efforts of young artists and the wider Clarence community. Engagement with the local community in the development and design of public artworks promotes a strong ownership of and pride in public spaces. Site specific artworks create distinctive locations and help to build local identity and neighborhood character. Working together to encourage public art and the development of this space whilst protecting the heritage and community safety is core to this project.

This project includes:

• Mural in the Greaves St underpass of the new Grafton Bridge (completed)
• Mural on the South Grafton riverbank – First Nation Welcome words (in progress)
• Mural on the Grafton riverbank – First Nation Welcome words (in progress)
• Mural in the Library Carpark on Pound Street (completed)
• Projection on the Sugar Tower in South Grafton (22 October - 5 November 2022)
• Communications to artists and community about the area, safety around the rail corridor and the heritage elements of the Grafton Bridge

First Nations Artwork Projection

Artworks celebrating the endangered coastal emu will be projected onto the Sunshine Sugar building in South Grafton from 22 October 2022 to 6 November 2022.

Gumbaynggirr, Yaegl and Bundjalung artists help celebrate the public art in the Grafton Bridge precinct as part of the Building Bridges project.

Drivers take care. Please pay attention to the road and drive safely. To view this projection from the shared path on the southern bank of the new Grafton bridge on the Summerland Way. Access by parking at the western end of Through Street, South Grafton and walk towards the bridge. This path is wheelchair accessible.

Artist Information:

Deborah Taylor is a Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung artist from South Grafton. As an artist, Deborah is heavily influenced by her Aboriginal heritage, local legends, stories and family history. Deborah’s work is in the Grafton Regional Gallery collection and she is a member of the Boomalli Artist Co-operative.

Gareth Charlton is a proud Yaegl artist that lives in Maclean. Gareth also supports the efforts to save the endangered coastal emus and produced these artworks to educate people about the plight of the emu.

Kahlua Charlton is a proud Yaegl woman. Her culture has a big influence on what and how she paints. She likes to share her cultures history, share stories, and educate people through her paintings.

Maisie Monaghan is a young Bundjalung girl from Grafton, she has been awarded the Youth Prize in the Clarence Valley Indigenous Art Award 2021 and has created two artworks for this project.

Aneika Kapeen is a Yaegl woman from Maclean. Aneika founded the Mudyala Aboriginal Corporation in Maclean and is proudly celebrating the coastal Emu with an inaugural festival to be held in Woolweyah on 29 November.



Grafton Library Mural

Clarence Valley artist Al Stark has painting an artwork in the Grafton library carpark wall as part of the Building Bridges Project.


Burugar Wagun (Beach turkeys)

Artist Statement:

The ideas for this work originally came form a walk through coastline country with Yaegl and Bundjalung man, Micheal Laurie. We listened to dreamtime stories of origin as well as deep knowledge of plants, animals and place. I’d always been intrigued by bush turkeys thinking of them as a kind of odd solitary bird, however as Micheal drew one in the sand, describing its meaning and importance I was taken to another place, a place of awe, wonder and deep time. Having lived in this area my entire life and considering it my home, making connection with Michael, traditional custodian and Yaegl man was transformative and really important to me. I usually go to the beach everyday regardless of weather, for a swim, surf or just to wander around. When I see the turkeys (wagun) scratching around doing interesting things I think about the significance of deep time and imagine the eons of rolling waves forming the coast and the wagun scratching around its shoreline (burugar)… I also think of its people walking through country laughing, living gracefully within nature, deeply connected since forever. It was with these thoughts that I have tried to express a dream of wagun and Burugar. It is my hope and aim that this work is able to offer a sense of beauty, wonder, rhythm and transcendence.. even if it’s just for a fleeting moment in peoples daily lives.

Al stark 2022
Stark was chosen as the preferred artist for this mural due to his site-specific work in NSW and Victoria, specifically his recent work at Pentridge community space in Melbourne. Stark has been central figure in the progression of the Melbourne street art movement since its inception in the late 90s. His more recent public works form lyrical narratives in massive colour and symbolism which seek to engage our environmental concerns and our responsibilities to them. Currently maintaining an itinerant exhibition and commission-based practice, Stark has an extensive list of collectors and clients including Hotel Hotel, Sheraton hotel, Westfield, and the National Gallery of Australia. Next time you are in Grafton make sure you check it out.

Greaves Street Mural

The Grafton Regional Gallery is pleased to have invited Nationally recognised artists Blak Douglas and Jason Wing to create a mural on the Greaves Street underpass of the new Grafton Bridge.

The Grafton Regional Gallery along with Clarence Valley Council and Transport for NSW are working to protect and encourage public art, while considering the significant built heritage of the area and safety of the community.

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