Museums & Galleries Qld

Lynda Griffin, Caloundra Regional Gallery blogs from her mentorship at Grafton Regional Gallery

Posted on: 29 October 2013

WEEK 1 Reflections: 20 October – 26 October 2013

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What a week to arrive in Grafton, with the famous purple Jacarandas in full bloom and the Jacaranda Festival in full swing. “You’ve come at the right time of year!” is the general consensus amongst everyone that I’m introduced to.

The Clarence Valley community is passionate about their Jacarandas, but also about their visual arts, their local artists, and their regional art gallery, which was officially opened in 1988, having commenced in 1985 as a gallery run by the Jacaranda Art Society to house the impressive and ever-increasing Jacaranda Art Prize Collection. (Read more about the Gallery’s history here)

This passion and connection to the community were significant in selecting to complete my mentorship at the Grafton Regional Gallery, in addition to it being a larger scale regional gallery that would present a variety of learning opportunities and ideas to take away that could still  be realistically translated to the Caloundra Regional Gallery upon my return.

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Since its inception, the Grafton Regional Gallery has grown to occupy a mix of historic and new buildings, providing a wonderful selection of different sized spaces to house a variety of local, group, touring, and collection based exhibitions at any one time. Located in a beautifully tree-lined street of mixed commercial & residential buildings – perhaps not a typical location for a regional gallery – the Gallery Café & cool courtyard seem to play an important role in creating a destination experience for visitors – facilitating a relaxed, social atmosphere, and a place to reflect on the exhibitions just viewed.

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Another important and enviable space is the Workshop & Studio / Community gallery space, which affords a permanent space to display popular community exhibitions, as well as artwork by schools that are an outcome of the Gallery’s fantastic outreach program ‘Gallery Out and About’. For part of the year the workshop is also utilised by the Gallery’s Artist In Residence, providing them with not only a studio space to work in, but also a daily connection and dialogue with the visiting community.

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Week 1 passed by in a purple flash, providing many interesting and varied experiences.

A complete exhibition changeover:

Not one, two or three, but six exhibitions changed over in 3 days. Efficiency, quick decision making and lots of experienced hands on deck from staff and volunteers allowed this to happen within the allocated time frame, to give visitors a great variety of exhibitions to view at once.

The Collection:

Searching for the works to be hung in the Gallery’s new collection exhibition allowed me to have a sneak peek at every rack of artwork held in the impressive Collection Storeroom. Here I learnt the value of having an extensive gallery collection on hand, and the value of having a well-fitted out storage space to house it!

The Grafton Regional Gallery (GRG) has an excellent online facility for viewing collection works, making it accessible 365 days of the year, and promotes this in collection exhibitions whenever possible. (View the GRG Collection Online here)

My mentor, Gallery Curator Angela de Martino Rosaroll gave me an extensive insight into the history and development of the collection. To further familiarise myself with the collection, I have been given the opportunity to guest curate the next collection exhibition that will have a curatorial focus on rivers. With such an extensive collection my difficult task next week is to shortlist the selection from about 50 down to just 20 works…

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Other highlights:

Joining in on an ‘Arts in Mind’ Tour for people with dementia and their carers. A delightful social outing for all who were given the opportunity to enjoy a guided tour and discussion of the current artworks, followed by morning tea at the café.

Seeing the talent of the local artists of the Grafton Art Club, and joining Gallery Director Jude McBean and Angela at the judging of the 45th Jacaranda Art Exhibition & Youth Art Exhibition and acquisition selection for the GRG Collection.

Attending the Official Opening of the new exhibitions and the presentation of prizes for the Clarence Valley Indigenous Art Award, with performances by local musicians and local Dance Group.

Hearing passionate artist talks by both the previous winner of the previous Clarence Valley Indigenous Art Award, Frances Belle Parker, and the current Artist in Residence, Virginia Jones, and understanding how the gallery is providing them with important opportunities to progress their artistic careers.

Topped off by the crowning of the 2013 Jacaranda Queen in the town square on Saturday night, Week 1 will certainly be hard to beat…Untitled21 Untitled22 Untitled23


M&GSQ’s 2013 Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship Program is funded by Arts Queensland through the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF). RADF is a joint Queensland Government and Local Government partnership to support local arts and culture.

See M&GSQ’s website, for more information about the Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship Program.


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Museums & Galleries Queensland is the peak professional body for the public museum and gallery sector in Queensland.

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