Gallery grant to support economic opportunities for Aboriginal artists

Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance Aboriginal Corporation celebrated the establishment of a gallery in June 2023.

A $250,000 grant will support an Indigenous arts organisation in Coffs Harbour to create economic and employment opportunities for First Nations artists.

The project has been funded by a ‘Community and Place – Closing the Gap’ grant from Aboriginal Affairs NSW.

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The Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance Aboriginal Corporation acquired the former bank building on Park Avenue in Coffs Harbour in 2023 and has transformed it into an art gallery and retail space to support the region’s thriving Aboriginal arts and culture community.

“We wanted to make some improvements to the gallery space so that it could function as a proper gallery in order to attract artists from the region.

“We want to create a space for these artists to not only exhibit and display their works and products, but to sell them,” said Rick Gonsalves from Saltwater Freshwater.

The grant will support removal of a suspended ceiling, the installation of LED gallery lighting, renovation of toilets, the creation of an outdoor function space and the employment of an Aboriginal Program Coordinator who will develop an annual program of exhibitions and cultural workshops.

“We have a retail shop where we accept goods on consignment such as clothing, artworks, carvings, natural beauty products and greeting cards,” said Rick.

“So the development of the gallery has a twofold purpose.

“One is to have a place where artists and cultural practitioners from within our region can exhibit and benefit from economic and employment opportunities, but also to enable our organisation to generate supplemental income that allows us to be more self-sustainable.”

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty David Harris said, “Based on extensive evidence, we know Aboriginal communities do best to close the gap when it is their people shaping and driving outcomes, alongside government.

“There are so many wonderful Aboriginal-led programs that work every day to make real, lasting positive impacts to the lives of people in their communities.

“The NSW Government’s $15 million Community and Place Grants investment is a highly targeted way to partner with these organisations to maximise outcomes.”

For more information about upcoming grant opportunities, visit the Aboriginal Affairs NSW website,


The Community and Place grant will grow artist opportunities at the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance gallery.

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