History of BRAG
From Customs House to Commonwealth Bank
The Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery has a unique history. The building started life as Customs House in 1902. From 1921 onwards, the occupant of this historic building was the Commonwealth Bank. In their 57 year stay, the bank made several changes to the building’s architecture which included the installation of two concrete bank vaults armed with heavy combination locks – used today as the Gallery’s collection storage room and The Vault installation space.
From Bank to Library, then Gallery
In July 1978, the bank moved to Sugarland Shopping Town and in August of the same year, the then named Bundaberg City Council (now Bundaberg Regional Council) purchased the building to house Bundaberg’s first free public library service. Having outgrown the space, the library relocated in the early 1990s. At the same time, members of the Bundaberg Art Society were instrumental in lobbying the Bundaberg City Council to take responsibility for a public art gallery in the city. Up until that time, the Bundaberg Art Society had been located in the School of Arts building in Bourbong Street, with their own committee and members presenting exhibitions for the community of Bundaberg. After a number of years of concerted effort from the Bundaberg Art Society, in 1995 the old library building became the Bundaberg Arts Centre, under the auspices of the Bundaberg City Council.
In early 2009, the Bundaberg Regional Council, together with the Bundaberg community, endorsed the re-development of the former Bundaberg Arts Centre into a regional art gallery and cultural hub, establishing the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery.
About the Gallery
The Gallery is located in the heart of Bundaberg City and showcases exhibitions drawn from local, state, national and international artists. The Gallery houses three very distinct spaces including Gallery One on the ground floor for major touring shows, major solo or group shows. The Vault is a contemporary art space showcasing contemporary installations, while Gallery Two, on the first floor, is used as an emerging space for local artists and group shows.
The Gallery is also home to BRAG’s permanent collection comprising over 400 works across all art forms. The Gallery offers a range of workshops in its Access Studio, while the Artist-in-Residence apartment is used by local and visiting artists. Visitors can browse the Gift Shop which stocks a variety of handcrafted gifts and artworks.