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The massive redevelopment of the Grafton Regional Gallery is finally under way with works set to be completed late next year.
Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis was onsite to celebrate the event with Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons, other councillors, members of the Gallery Foundation, Gallery supporters and workers and building contractors.
Mr Gulaptis said the project was made possible thanks to a $7.6 million grant from the Nationals in NSW Government’s Regional Culture Fund.
“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.
The multi-million dollar expansion will include a national standard main gallery, new workshops and exhibition spaces, a new café and better storage to protect its valuable collections from flooding.
The tender for the project has been awarded to O’Donnell & Hanlon whose recent projects include the Country University refurbishment in Pound Street and the construction of Grafton Library.
Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons said there is a dynamic, vibrant, enthusiastic and growing arts community in the Clarence Valley.
“Arts and culture are playing an increasingly important economic and social role in our community," he 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.”