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The Northern Rivers Community Gallery (NRCG) has established itself as a significant regional cultural hub and creative catalyst in the Northern Rivers. NRCG exhibitions and programs promote critical thinking, creative exploration and social cohesion; and connect artists, makers and audiences with creative opportunity.

Ballina Shire Council established the Northern Rivers Community Gallery (NRCG) in 2007 in the historic former Ballina Municipal Council Chambers. Built in 1927, Council renovated this building to the highest standard in lighting, climate control and security. Adjacent to the gallery in the same building is the popular Ballina Gallery Cafe.

The gallery features four exhibition spaces and presents a range of professional, multi-arts and cultural programs incorporating diverse events, public programs and residencies. NRCG provides opportunities for emerging and established artists to hire galleries and exhibit and sell their work under subsidised arrangements (this is unique in the region), as well as touring exhibitions and in-house curated programs.

Programs are initiated by local and national artists, arts professionals and cultural and community groups and are guided by the principles of access, equity and participation.

Envisaging a future creative precinct, in 2018 Northern Rivers Community Gallery expanded into the heritage listed former Ballina Fire station, which reopened as Ignite Studios @ NRCG. Ignite Studios, Ballina’s newest multidisciplinary creative space provides dedicated, fit-for-purpose, creative industries spaces for studios, residencies, projects and events. Ignite Studios supports regional arts and cultural development through the provision of subsidised creative industry studio spaces and professional development programs including master classes and the visiting artist program.

A diverse range of public programs are offered throughout the year for all levels of creative development supporting the participation in arts and cultural activities for visitors and the wider community.

NRCG is positioned to physically expand further, and is emerging as an exciting cultural precinct for the region.






Lee Mathers, Gallery Coordinator

Lee Mathers has been Northern Rivers Community Gallery Coordinator for 6 years. She holds a Master of Visual Arts with extensive experience delivering creative projects across design, branding, film, web, public art and community outreach. Lee has project managed the delivery of large-scale design and public art projects. Her past experience includes Special Projects Coordinator (Public Art) for the City of Sydney managing a large scale civil works public project; and, Project Manager for the Jumbana Group developing and implementing public art projects such as the Jezzine Barracks Project, and the Qantas Paddy Bedford Flying Art Series. Her experience also includes Design & Project Manager at Janet Laurence Studio Lecturer at the University of Sydney in the field of Object Art and Design.


Emma Pinsent, Gallery Services Officer - Exhibitions 



Louise Clark, Gallery Services Officer - Front-of-House 











Natalie Grono 

Natalie Grono is an award-winning photographer, photojournalist and NRCG Facilitator. As a photojournalist, she shoots on assignment for the New York Times and the Guardian. Her photographic awards include: The Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture, The Walkley Award for Portraiture and The National Portrait Prize Peoples’ Choice Award.





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Narelle Bretherton 

Narelle Bretherton is a painter and creative educator. She studied Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts and is a member of the Lennox Arts Collective, a gallery and workshop space in Lennox Head, NSW.

Narelle finds inspiration in the everyday as she paints intimate realist paintings, often on plywood or found timber, that document place and time. Originally from Melbourne, Narelle now lives in Lennox Head and paints intimate portraits of houses from around this small coastal town and surrounds as well as still life paintings - little momentos of the small domestic moments in our daily lives, capturing beauty that can otherwise go unnoticed in the everyday.




Duke Albada 

Duke Albada is a creative producer, installation and participatory artist, who delivers wide-ranging creative projects including workshops, events, and community art projects. Duke Albada has exhibited extensively in Australia, Europe and the USA. She showcased her refuse fashion dregs2Diva in New York, was a finalist at the Helen Lempriere Sculpture Award, and exhibited at Sculpture by the Sea and Thessaloniki Biennale. Duke holds a Master of Fine Arts from Monash University, a Bachelor Degree in Architecture from Rietveld Art Academy (NL), and has qualifications in photography, video and fashion.


Karma Barnes 

Karma Barnes’s creative practice encompasses installation art, painting, participatory and social-impact practices, community and street art. Karma is a Northern Rivers artist originally from Auckland, New Zealand. She completed her Master’s Degree in Creative Arts Practice, researching art therapy and mindfulness in 2014 in Melbourne, and a Bachelors Degree of Arts and Creativity in 2009 in Wellington, New Zealand.  Karma co-directs the Imagine the Land Project which has engaged over 10,000 people in collaborative art-making through public art exhibitions producing large scale site-specific installations.









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