To deepen the bond between Grand Central and the local Indigenous community, the Centre commissioned 'CHAMPIONS for the FUTURE' – a NAIDOC themed art installation that symbolises the future of Grand Central, Toowoomba, and the First Nations community.
Grand Central commissioned renowned local Indigenous artists Cheryl Moggs OAM, David McCarthy, and Aaron Blades, along with curator Jennifer Wright-Summers, to collaborate with Indigenous students in creating a community-based mural under the theme of NAIDOC 2022: ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’. The mural aimed to convey the message that the community library is a space for everyone to engage with family, culture and education. The mural encouraged a connection to local school, Rockville State School (RSS), where 110 out of 193 students identify as Indigenous. The commissioned artists engaged with RSS to deepen the students' cultural connection and aid their understanding of Indigenous symbols as part of their humanities studies. Students were tasked with creating small drawings that depicted symbols representing their personal and family stories, with ten of the drawings selected to be featured within the mural.
The mural was live-painted during NAIDOC Week 2022, aligning with broader Indigenous celebrations which are a significant occasion within the region. It served as a catalyst for various cultural initiatives at the centre, including the first ever Grand Central NAIDOC Arts and Craft Market, Acknowledgement of Country decals installed at centre entrances, and expanded youth literacy engagement projects. Additionally, the centre fostered relationships with the Indigenous community by featuring local NAIDOC Award winners and their families throughout large format digital screens within the Centre and becoming a community member of the Toowoomba NAIDOC Committee.
By undertaking this activation, Grand Central significantly strengthened its partnerships with the local Indigenous community, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to reconciliation in the region. The mural space at Grand Central has evolved into a community hub. It serves as a venue for various initiatives, including a youth literacy program with Toowoomba Libraries, Indigenous weaving workshops with Aunty Barb Walker, and hosting the Toowoomba Big Buddy Program for Indigenous youth. The mural space also features new Indigenous-designed furniture which has elicited positive feedback from retailers and community members.