The Friends of the Gallery (FoGG) established in 1992 and evolved from the Jacaranda Art Society (JAS).
The JAS formed in 1961 from the desire to bring contemporary art to the Clarence Valley. In 1985 the JAS purchased Prentice House in Fitzroy St, Grafton with the support of the former Grafton City Council. Prentice House was commissioned by the surgeon Dr James Houison as a residence and surgery. This federation style residence is one of Grafton’s most beautiful and prestigious structures. A grant from NSW Bicentennial Council enabled the restoration of the building and its conversion for use as a regional gallery with all necessary environment and security controls.
The Grafton Regional Gallery was officially opened in March 1988. At the Opening, the JAS presented their collection formed through the Jacaranda Art Prize (1961-1987). The collection became the Gallery’s founding collection. Julian Faigan, the inaugural Director, developed the Jacaranda Art Prize into the Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award (JADA), with the aim of creating a specialised collection of contemporary Australian drawing. The JADA become biennial in 1994 with the prize money increasing from $1,000 to $5,000. The Regional Art Collection was established.
By 2008 JADA was the flagship of the Gallery with prize money of $30,000 and touring to galleries on the eastern seaboard of Australia. The FOGG are the major sponsors for the prize donating $15,000 for the first prize.
The JADA provides a wonderful opportunity for artists to explore the medium of drawing while allowing the gallery to build on its unique and impressive collection of contemporary Australian drawings.
The Friends present an annual program of events and play an active and supportive role in the development of the Gallery. Supported by the Friends, the JADA is Grafton Regional Gallery’s flagship art prize.