Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Nathalia art centre's uncertainty

GRAIN Store in Nathalia needs permanent financial backing to avoid closure.

JOHN LEWIS February 22, 2014 6:18am

Musical performance: The Goulburn Valley Orchestra at the GRAIN store.

The future of a popular Nathalia arts hub is at a crossroads unless it receives permanent funding, its founder and board chairman has said.

GRAIN Store chairman Bill Kelly said board members would next week ask Moira Shire Council for ongoing support.

‘‘We’ve proven our worth. We are nationally recognised and have more than paid our way by subsidising the arts in the shire,’’ Mr Kelly said.

‘‘It is the council’s turn to acknowledge this and so we will be approaching them to secure our future for the continuing benefit of the people of Moira.’’

Mr Kelly said the facility on Nathalia’s Blake St had been closed for three months to reasess its financial position.

He said it would reopen on March 15 with a new and ‘‘re-energised’’ program of events until June.

‘‘We’re not broke, but we have come to realise that we do now have to have a source of ongoing financial support,’’ Mr Kelly said.

The non-profit GRAIN Store opened in December 2010 and has produced more than 40 exhibitions, 30 performance nights and 30 art workshops.

It has established links with state and national institutions such as La Trobe University, the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra and Parks Victoria. Last year it was the setting for the Victorian College of the Arts short film Grey Bull.

Former Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu opened the GRAIN Store’s exhibition of flood photos Not Drowning: Waving in 2012.

GRAIN Store deputy chairman Stan Lowe said the community had worked hard to foster the arts in Nathalia and the wider region.

‘‘Someone in virtually every family paints, plays music, sings, dances, quilts, writes, does photography, acts. Nathalia is a great sports town, but it also realised that it was a great arts town,’’ Mr Lowe said.

Nathalia business manager and GRAIN Store board member John Giffard said the facility had boosted the town’s economy.

‘‘Even using the lowest accepted industry multiplier effect for dollars brought into a community, the GRAIN Store has easily been responsible for at least half million dollars for the local economy,’’ Mr Giffard said.

Mr Kelly said he and fellow board members planned to meet with Moira Shire councillors next week.

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