Grafton Regional Gallery
Grafton Regional Gallery occupies historic Prentice House - a fine example of the 19th century residences for which Grafton is celebrated. Grafton's Jacaranda Art Society was the original stimulus for the establishment of an art gallery in Grafton. The Society organised an annual acquisitive art award which ran from 1961 until 1987 as a part of the Jacaranda Festival. Prentice House was originally built in 1880 by Alexander Fairweather as a surgery and residence for Dr. Prentice. In 1985 the Grafton City Council, with assistance from the Jacaranda Art Society, purchased Prentice House. A grant from the New South Wales Bicentennial Council enabled a thorough restoration of he building and its conversion for use as a modern art gallery, with all necessary environmental and security controls. When the Grafton Regional Gallery was officially opened in March 1988 the art works collected over the years by the Jacaranda Art Society were presented to the Gallery.
The Grafton Regional Gallery has a permanent collection of more than 350 works, divided into four main areas: Jacaranda Art Society Acquisitions 1961-1988, Contemporary Australian Drawing, Regional Art and the Gladys and Doris O?Grady Collection. Through an active acquisition policy, and donations, the collection is constantly growing. The Jacaranda Art Society ran an acquisitive prize from 1961 to 1988. The society donated its collection to the Gallery in 1988 upon the Gallery?s opening. This collection is predominantly paintings with some prints, drawings and sculpture. The Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award was established in 1988 and is now a biennial event. This national award with prize money of $15,000, seeks to encourage and promote innovation and excellence in drawing amongst Australian artists. It affords the Gallery an active selection in fostering contemporary arts practice while developing the speciality of our collection on a national basis. The Regional Art section of the collection consists of works that relate to Grafton and surrounding areas, by artists with district connections and by artists of the North Coast region. Works by the Gallery?s Patron, Ken Done AM, from nearby Maclean, David van Nunen, printmaker Janice Hunter, quilter Fiona Gavens, ceramicist Sandra Taylor and woodworkers Geoff Welham and Rod Zietch are included in this area of the collection. The natural history drawings of Gladys O'Grady (1894 - 1985) and her sister Doris are a very distinct feature of the Gallery?s collection. The majority of Gladys O?Grady?s works are held by the Mitchell Library in Sydney. Our collection features watercolours of the birds and flora of the Clarence Valley, sketch books and folios.