aige Sinclair, of Coffs Harbour, hard at work on her watercolour at Grafton Artsfest.
aige Sinclair, of Coffs Harbour, hard at work on her watercolour at Grafton Artsfest. JoJo Newby

Artsfest draws best from students

ASPIRING artists from all over Australia have gathered to brush up their skills at the Autumn Artsfest festival.

The annual event kicked off on Wednesday at Grafton High School with around 100 people ready to learn from international, interstate and local artists.

Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson said Artsfest was a special event for the area.

“It's a wonderful opportunity for students and tutors to mingle and learn more about the arts while enjoying the Valley's friendly hospitality,” he said.

Lauren Maluf, owner of The Art Scene supply shop which is open on site at the event, is happy to share his knowledge with students.

Mr Maluf has been coming to Grafton with his daughter for Artsfest for more than 20 years and said he loves that he gives people the chance to see the newest art supplies available.

“Most of the things in my store are new. It then creates product awareness and a market for the item at the local art stores, generating more business for them.”

Mr Maluf's store aims to provide convenience to the Artsfest students by staying open longer and opening early in the morning. He said local art stores had been asked in the past if they wanted to open at Artsfest but they could not open early enough for the students to be ready before class, nor were they available to open on Sunday, so he comes from Sydney to be available to the students.

The Artsfest students and tutors also gathered at the Grafton Regional Art Gallery for a special exhibition on the tutors of Artsfest following Wednesday's class.

The event attracts people from Brisbane, Sydney, Coffs Harbour and even Melbourne, bringing tourists to the area that otherwise may not have come.

Grafton Artsfest president Fay Boyd said that the last time Events New South Wales looked into it, they found the economic benefit Artsfest provided to the community was upwards of $4 million.

Artsfest will run 20 different courses, including watercolour, landscape, oil painting and a large range of others.

Mr Maluf said that although there were many talented local artists, bringing international and interstate artists to the event ensured the people of Grafton had the chance to learn from professional artists who would not normally be available to them. It also gave the local artists the chance to stimulate their own skills, he said.

An artist-in-residence exhibition will run again from Monday until Friday next week as part of the Artsfest festivities.

More information on this can be found at www.artsfestgrafton.com.



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