Initially launched as a 12-month pilot project in January 2019, Gallery DownTown was an initiative of Tweed Shire Council to act as a driver of creative and economic development in the heart of Murwillumbah.
In its first year, Gallery DownTown welcomed 12,534 visitors and contributed more than $600,000 to the local economy through art and retail sales. Visitor numbers have since risen to almost 34,000 people.
Gallery DownTown has hosted a myriad of exhibitions, offering opportunities to regional artists and extending the Gallery’s Community Access Exhibitions Program. The annexe also included a dedicated space to showcase artworks from the Gallery’s permanent collection.
One of the many regional artists to exhibit at the Gallery DownTown, Dave Groom, said his experience at Gallery DownTown had been wonderful.
“Being an annexe of the Tweed Regional Gallery lent Gallery DownTown added status. I felt the additional connection between Gallery Downtown and M|Arts was mutually beneficial for those two galleries,” Groom said.
Gallery DownTown will officially close on Sunday 13 June 2021.
Tweed Regional Gallery Director Susi Muddiman OAM said she was incredibly proud of what had been achieved over the past 28 months.
“I would like to thank my staff and others across Tweed Shire Council for having the drive and ingenuity to help make this happen. I take my hat off to Council for this forward-thinking initiative, which demonstrates their commitment to the arts,” she said.
“Of course, we couldn’t possibly have done it without the M|Arts team, who did a fantastic job delivering professionally curated gallery experiences.”
Despite the success of the project, Ms Muddiman feels the timing is now right to bring it to an end.
“So much has changed since Gallery DownTown opened as a pilot project in early 2019,” she said.
“The M|Arts Precinct now stands as a tourism drawcard in its own right. With a bustling, creative vibrancy, the Precinct offers a range of dining experiences, specialty stores, and artists and artisans studios,” Ms Muddiman said.
The final exhibitions at Gallery DownTown, Director’s Choice from the Tweed Regional Gallery collection and Sons and Daughters by regional artists Trish Tait and Meli Axford are on display until 13 June.