Our Sponsors



The Gallery Foundation was established in 2005 as an independent not-for-profit organisation to support the growth and vibrancy of the Grafton Regional Gallery, its infrastructure and collection.


As the Grafton Regional Gallery grows, strengthens and broadens its capabilities across the arts, culture and tourism in the Clarence Valley will be both encouraged and enhanced.


Over the past 13 years, the Gallery Foundation has raised over $450,000. It has directly or indirectly contributed over $100,000 to the Gallery’s infrastructure and collection. Significantly the Gallery Foundation has committed to a further $100,000 over the next two years towards the development of the gallery’s infrastructure.


In 2018 the Gallery Foundation funded and supported a grant application under the NSW Government Regional Cultural Fund. Together with the Clarence Valley Council we were successful in securing $7.6m towards the refurbishment and extension of this great place.


However much more needs to be done to create an arts precinct at the regional gallery to enable it to stage national and international exhibitions, nurture local artists, expand its outreach programmes for the broader community while continuing to attract the ever growing national and international visitor base.

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To secure the further expansion of the Gallery’s infrastructure, collection and capabilities the Gallery Foundation is aiming to raise a further $1m over the next 10 years.

This will enable the Grafton Regional Gallery to realise its full cultural, social, educational and economic potential.


Rod Watters | Chair

Grazier, Keybarbin Station, Baryulgil NSW.

Former Managing Director, Alcoa of Australia (Asia) Ltd

Retired VP Europe, PPG Industries Inc., International General Management and Directorships based in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Pittsburgh and Paris from 1982 to 2000

CEO Britton Group Limited, London UK

Bachelor of Economics, Monash University. Master of Business Administration, University of NSW.

Helyn Davison | Board Secretary

Helyn recently retired from TAFE NSW where she had worked for 30 years, initially as a teacher in the Business Faculty and for the last eight years Helyn was a Director of Educational Services with the North Coast Institute of TAFE.  Helyn was a Director with the Grafton Women's Refuge and on the Regional Development Board. Both these roles were completed in a voluntary capacity. 

Helyn has lived in the Clarence Valley all her life. Her secondary education was at Grafton High School and tertiary education was completed by distance education. Helyn has a Diploma in Teaching from Newcastle University,  a Bachelor Social Science from University of New England  and a Post Graduate Certificate in Management from the University of Technology Sydney. Helyn has been a keen supporter of the Grafton Regional Gallery over many years and continues to work to promote the many strengths that having a regional gallery in the Clarence Valley offers to residents and visitors. 

Suzanne Campbell

Suzanne Campbell taught English and History of Grafton High School for 25 years. During this time she was the SRC coordinator organising many functions from fundraising days such as Daffodil Day to Jeans for Genes Day. She has been involved in the local theatre organisation The Pelican Playhouse for over thirty years and is currently the treasurer of the Players. She is a member of the Grafton Lions Club for which she organises educational intitiatives.

Paul Kennedy


A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and partner since 1982 located in the Grafton office with experienced in Business Accounting, Auditing, Taxation, Administrations and Investigations, Financial Planning and a Registered Company Auditor and Registered Tax Agent. Paul graduated with Bachelor of Economics in 1974, for the next 8 years gained experience in professional practice in large chartered accounting firms Pricewaterhouse (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and Fell & Starkey (Ernst & Young), as well as in commercial accounting with Davis Fullers Ltd, Readymix Concrete Ltd (CSR Ltd) and Farley and Lewis Ltd (CSR Ltd). Paul is also a Certified Financial Planner and has worked as a Financial Planner since 1988.

Jude McBean

After training at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW, Sydney, Jude moved to the Clarence Valley to work as an artist and art educator. After working as the education and public programs officer at the Grafton Regional Gallery from 1996 she took up the directorship in 2003.


As Director until early 2018 Jude worked to develop the potential of the regional gallery and to advocate for the recognition of the value of the arts and creative industries in regional areas.


Jude has returned to her artistic practice and become a board member of The Gallery Foundation to continue her interest in ensuring the long term financial sustainability of the Grafton Regional Gallery.

Elizabeth Fahey

Elizabeth is the manager the Bizzy Brahman and Nettle Creek Brangus and Charbray Studs and her most recent community activities are as a board member of The Gallery Foundation since 2004 and for the last two years on the Foundation’s subcommittee for Gate to Plate.

Pam Fysh

Pam came to Grafton in 1963 having grown up in rural North West NSW. Since her arrival she has been actively involved in the local art community as a practising artist and has held positions on many committees to help promote the art industry. Pam was a member of the Jacaranda Art Society (JAS) from 1970 until the society evolved into the Friends of the Gallery (FOG) in 1992. Pam remains an active executive member of the Friends currently being the Vice President. Since 1980 Pam has been a member of the Grafton Art Club. In the 1970s Pam was involved with the Grafton’s Festival of Arts and from 1983 on the Steering Committee for the establishment of the Grafton Regional Gallery (GRG). Pam was a member of the GRG Management Committee from 1988 to 1996 and since 1996 a member of the GRG Advisory Committee. She has been a Board Member of the Gallery Foundation from it's inception.

Peter Nicholson

Food and hospitality has played a major role in my life.  

My mother was a great cook and my father loved big ideas, words and gathering people together. 

Our house was always planning, doing or recovering from dinner parties, trips, bbq’s and exploring the culture of our city Melbourne.

I trained as a cook / chef at Wrest Point Hotel Casino in the 1970’s and went on to travel the world for the next 8 years as a chef and many other interesting occupations.

On returning to Melbourne I began a family and strong professional career in hospitality and cooking. This was enhanced by tertiary education at RMIT and William Angliss.

I moved to the Clarence Valley in 2002 and began a new company specialising in food of course! 

Nicholson Fine Foods is based in the Yamba industrial estate and supplies specialty foods to customers all over Australia. The company has won 15 Royal Show Australian Champion Trophies and many gold, silver and bronze medals for the products we make.

I was on the first committee for the Surfing the Coldstream arts and music festival in Yamba and went on to work on three festivals.

I believe strongly that creativity is a gift everyone needs to explore in their lives.

Kay Cottee

Most people know Kay Cottee at age 34 as the first woman to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world in 1988.  Since age 19 she has owned and run a variety of businesses from a dressmaking and fabric shop to boatbuilding factory to media publishing and an art gallery.  Kay was an internationally renowned motivational speaker for 20 years as well as raising over $1M for the children’s charity Life Education.  She has been on the board of many organisations including the National Maritime Museum, where she held the position of Chair for six years.  Kay has been a practicing wood worker, artist and sculptor for over 45 years.  

Johannes Ventor

Johannes Venter is a principal partner of Crowe Horwath in Grafton. He moved to Grafton in 2014 bringing with him over 28 years of experience working with small businesses, not for profit organisations and individuals.


He has specialist knowledge in the areas of retail, professional services, health services, primary production, trades, manufacturing and SMSF.

Johannes joined the board in 2016.

Niomi Sands - ex officio

Niomi Sands has been the Director of the Grafton Regional Gallery since April 2018. She had previously worked as the curator at The Glasshouse in Port Macquarie for over ten years.

Before her tenure at Port Macquarie Niomi worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney as a registrar and various regional galleries in Newcastle where she grew up and went to university.

Niomi also works as an artist and is currently enrolled in a doctor of visual arts at Griffith University.


James Moloney

James Moloney is a fourth generation Clarence Valley farmer and resident. He was educated at Catholic schools in Maclean and Grafton, and has honours and masters degrees from Sydney University in History. James worked in the governance and ceremonial side of universities for sixteen years in NSW, Queensland and Canada before returning to the Clarence in 2005 to run the family farm at Tyndale and Shark Creek with his partner Steve Price. James is also a carer for his elderly mother Margaret in Maclean. He has been involved in historical and heritage organisations, including five years as a member of the Council of the Royal Australian Historical Society in the 1990s, and is an Associate of the NSW Professional Historians Association. Currently James is a member of the CVC Heritage Advisory Committee and the Board of The Gallery Foundation Ltd. James enjoys gardening, reading, local and family history and house renovations. James values community, and the importance of understanding the past, contributing to the present and investing for the future. He has zero artistic or mechanical ability but a great appreciation of aptitude and talent in both.

Robyn Tychsen

Robyn was born and grew up in Sydney. She commenced practice as a solicitor in Sydney before moving to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast where she established and operated a suburban legal practice until retirement. 

Drawn by the beauty of the Clarence Valley, where she had past family connections and had holidayed as a child, Robyn retired to Ilarwill near Maclean in 2008 with her partner. She was a practicing artist on the Sunshine Coast during her years there and is looking forward to being able to spend more time in creative pursuits in retirement. 

A lifetime supporter of the visual and performing arts, Robyn regards Grafton Regional Gallery as a significant and valuable resource and asset for the residents of and visitors to the Clarence Valley and welcomes the opportunity to contribute to its continued development through the Gallery Foundation.

Vicki St Lawrence

Victoria has broad experience as a management, social & strategic planning consultant to the rural public and community sectors. She has worked for a range of clients in the local and state government sectors, in addition to a range of non-profit organisations and the private sector. Victoria has strong networks across rural NSW with an emphasis on the North Coast. She is well versed in Government processes and policy and is the author of numerous reports, discussion and conference papers. Victoria has been a resident of rural NSW for more than 20 years, so understands the intricacies of rural life, rural service delivery and the conducting of business in rural localities. Prior to establishing St Lawrence & Associates Consulting Services, Victoria was the Manager of the NSW Rural Health Support Unit (1996-1999) and established the North Coast Area Assistance Scheme (1991-1996) a social and regional planning and funding program within the NSW Department of Planning. See Victoria's story on the Daring to Dream section of the NSW Department of Agriculture's Rural Women's Network website.