Two arts and cultural projects in the Richmond Valley are winners under the latest round of the Nationals in Government’s Regional Cultural Fund sharing in nearly $255,000 in funding, Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis says.

Mr Gulaptis said he was excited to once again be in the Richmond Valley with Mayor Robert Mustow delivering funding for two very worthy community projects.

Casino’s popular 80-year old Art Deco Civic Hall will benefit from an injection of $208,172 to provide much needed internal painting, additional seating to increase venue capacity and improve storage, an upgrade to the stage, as well as a Cultural Revitalisation Plan so that future works are prioritised in line with its heritage design.

“The funding complements $152,000 already awarded to Council under the Stronger Country Communities Fund which I announced earlier this year for new timber flooring,” Mr Gulaptis said. “This latest funding will ensure the venue is in tip top condition and continues to serve the community into the future as Casino’s premier performance arts venue generating social, economic and tourism benefits.”

Mr Gulaptis said the remainder of the funding – $46,397 – will allow Council to purchase a van to provide mobile cultural outreach services to isolated rural areas.

“The van will be branded ‘Art Van Go’ and will be used to deliver a suite of local cultural programs, including art and craft workshops, travelling art roadshows and cultural events delivered throughout the Richmond Valley,” he said. “I am passionate about improving social infrastructure so we can build vibrant regional communities. Both Richmond Valley Council and I want to make sure local residents have the best possible infrastructure and services and these projects are all very worthy.”

In welcoming the funding, Richmond Valley Council Mayor Robert Mustow said the iconic Civic Hall had great potential to be revitalised and promoted as a major venue for the area.

“The Civic Hall has stood the test of time and has been the Richmond Valley’s cultural hub for more than 80 years,” Cr Mustow said. “This funding will revamp the building and ensure it continues to play a pivotal role for many more years to come.”

Cr Mustow said he loved the idea of an arts van as Council was always looking for opportunities to provide extra services to its smaller towns and villages.

Cr Mustow said Art Van Go, a collaboration between Richmond Valley Council and Richmond-Upper Clarence Regional Library, would expand and improve access to the Richmond Valley’s cultural offerings.

“The purchase and branding of a van will allow Council and the Library to provide mobile cultural outreach services to isolated rural areas in our community,” he said.

The Regional Cultural Fund is one of the six funds that make up the $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund, secured by the Nationals in Government, which is designed to improve economic growth and productivity through investment in regional communities.