The Murray River at Echuca Moama has played host to thousands of years of history and cultural development. The Bridge Art Project seeks to showcase that history through contemporary art forms. The concept is a collaborative one, developed by indigenous and non-indigenous Australians who seek to:
Inspire a broader understanding of indigenous history and culture and its place in a modern era.
Inform and inspire visitors to the region with an immersive cultural experience.
Reflect the influence and experience of post 1788 settlement.
Recognise and highlight the unique story of the original custodians of the Yorta Yorta region's incorporated clans.
Nurture and strengthen a national reconciliation.
Offer emerging and established indigenous and non-indigenous Australian artists opportunities to contribute to the project.
Facilitate education and tertiary research into Australian indigenous and non-indigenous history and culture.
To build community cohesion through employment and education.
The Bridge Art Project Committee consists of community members motivated to create a world class arts precinct which tells the story of mankind in Australia through contemporary art. The constitution of the Association defines its principal purpose as: “to commission, preserve, collect, maintain the Bridge Art [Project] as a public art gallery”.
The Committee will recruit nationally acclaimed and highly qualified cultural consultants, architects, and landscape designers to guide the project through its next steps to deliver on the Masterplan. Benefit cost analyses and risk assessments and have been undertaken and will be ongoing to ensure the long-term sustainability of this unique, nationally acclaimed tourism project.
The Bridge Art Project is a unique and innovative concept. The process of collaboration between private investors, corporate stakeholders, the national arts community, local Yorta Yorta Nation representatives, state governments, and public authorities will encompass elements of product innovation, process innovation, and organisational innovation. Motivated by Barry Donchi's vision, the Committee has had influential conversations with NSW and Victorian bureaucracies including road construction authorities, environment and sustainability, national parks, tourism, arts, Indigenous affairs, state art galleries, and education providers.
The Bridge Art Project site in Echuca Moama will showcase acclaimed Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, as well as local Yorta Yorta Nation visual story-tellers and emerging artists of all backgrounds. It is poised to become an iconic tourism destination for Echuca Moama and the Murray River region.
History to Date
Incorporation ~ January 23, 2013.
Donation of 17.43 ha of land for the art precinct by Barry and Jan Donchi.
Registered with Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission, with DGR status.
$50,000 in local funding raised (including $30,000 from Murray River Council; other donors were Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, Campaspe Shire Council, Vic Roads Major Road Projects and Moama Bowling Club).
$50,000 in matching funding secured from Commonwealth Dept. of Industry Building Better Regions Fund to develop a masterplan for the arts precinct.
Masterplan and Business and Economic Analysis completed.
Murray River Council endorses the Masterplan.
$500,000 raised from local supporters to purchase a property at 74 Meninya Street for the gallery.
22 May, Gala Dinner with 200+ people held to launch Prospectus.
Detailed architectural plans completed - View Here
Next Steps: Gallery site preparation, lodgement of Development Application to Murray River Council.
The Bridge Art Project Plan
The plan for this world class arts precinct will include building a new gallery on Meninya Street Moama and a raised walkway from the gallery to the Murray River, a distance of approximately 1km through riverine forest. The forest will be utilised for walking and bicycle paths, an arts trail, a sculpture park and rehabilitation of previously farmed land for the growing of indigenous food and fibre. Other features will include night time events, such as star watching and digital light shows. When flooding of the land occurs - perhaps twice every ten years - visitors will have privileged viewing of the flooded bushland from the walkway.
The gallery will include a strong focus on the stories of Australia’s First Nations people, their history, culture and art, utilising multi-media opportunities and providing visitors with a multifaceted view of the local Yorta Yorta people and how they have cared for country for over 2000 generations. The gallery will house a permanent collection and will host visiting exhibitions, providing both paid and free experiences. The gallery building will include a large multi-purpose space for events, as well as a café, gallery shop and space for community activities.
Echuca Moama is a border-town located on the banks of the Murray and Campaspe rivers in Victoria/New South Wales, and close to the junction with the Goulburn River. In the Yorta Yorta language, ‘Echuca’ means meeting of the waters, while ‘Moama’ means place of the dead, reflecting the use there of its sandy soil for burials’.
Echuca Moama is located at the closest point on the Murray River to Melbourne. This has contributed to its development as a thriving river port during the 19th century. The towns continue to attract substantial tourist numbers and the region is a developing centre for festivals, sporting events and dining culture. The gallery will complement and extend the current tourist offering of the twin towns, providing a drawcard for national and international tourists.
Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation
The Bridge Art Project will be developed near the new Echuca Moama bridge over the Murray River. It is on Yorta Yorta country, whose clans include the Bangerang, Kailtheban, Wollithiga, Moira, Ulupna, Kwat Kwat, Yalaba Yalaba and Ngurai-illiam-wurrung people. The river was not a border to indigenous people, but now forms the state border between Victoria and New South Wales. The Yorta Yorta Nation comprises sixteen family groups across a wide portion of North Central Victoria and Southern NSW.
Our partnership with the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation is a mainstay for the enterprise, which will help to ensure that we meet the aims of the program to support First Nations employment and training.