Art prize strokes creative landscape
GRAFTON Regional Gallery had the honour yesterday of launching the $35,000 Country Energy Art Prize for Landscape Painting.
The prize, now in its third year, is one of the biggest awarded in the art world, and presents a great opportunity for regional artists.
The director of the gallery, Jude McBean, said it was a pleasure to have the launch take place in Grafton, as the prize embraced the community as well as artists.
The exhibition will run at the gallery later this year, September 14-October 16. It is open to artists who principally live within Country Energy or Australia Inland network areas.
Country Energy managing director Craig Murray said it made good business sense to support the exhibition.
He said the company totalled around $2m in sponsorship each year, supporting sports teams, schools and the like, so the cultural world was an obvious progression.
"The prize will go a long way towards raising the profile of regional artists who are often geographically isolated from city galleries, buyers, contacts and networks," he said.
Last year's winner, Guy Gilmour of Coramba, said the prize had definitely opened up more opportunities for him and added to his CV.
"It has given me public exposure which I wouldn't otherwise have received," he said.
This year's overall judge, artist Suzanne Archer, said it was wonderful to see a prize that celebrated country and coastal beauty.
"(There is a lot of) talent, enthusiasm and passion in country artists," she said.
"I encourage all regional artists to paint the incredible landscapes that surround them, and enter a work."