Artist Wendy Sharpe in her inner west studio.
Artist Wendy Sharpe in her inner west studio. Michael Amendolia

Sharpe start to gallery’s 2016 program

GRAFTON Regional Gallery will hold its first official opening for 2016 on Friday night.

Four new exhibitions will open with a special guest appearance by major Australian artist Wendy Sharpe and the swing music of jazz band Swag Manouche.

The Friends of the Gallery will be running a pay bar and complimentary nibbles are on offer at this free event. Everyone is welcome. Bookings are appreciated for catering purposes.

Wendy Sharpe is one of Australia's best known and loved artists. As well as officially opening the new exhibitions at the gallery Wendy will be presenting a floor talk that evening.

Cr Sue Hughes is the Master of Ceremonies and the fun starts at 5.30pm this Friday (Feburary 12) at the Grafton Regional Gallery.

This suite of exhibitions is the first of two series that celebrate the activities of women artists in the past and in the present.

Photography Meets Feminism: Australian woman photographers 1970s-80s is our major touring exhibition from the Monash Gallery of Art in Melbourne.

Sparkling jewels will be showcased in Jewellery of the Clarence Valley curated by Bree Hiatt. La Femina is a selection of work by national women artists held in our collection.

Our collection exhibition at the Sir Earle Page Library and Education Centre celebrates female artists of our region.

Clarence Jewellery

The diversity of jewellery throughout the different eras in history is found in the fabulous display in our Loft Gallery. The jewellery which is held in public and private collections in the Clarence Valley showcases an amazing array of materials and techniques and reveals many stories. The stories include who wore them, how they received them, the fashion of the times and the history of the time they were made.

The materials include pearls, jet, coral, amber, gold, silver, diamonds, mother of pearl and gemstones of all colours presented as brooches, necklaces, tiaras, bangles, earrings, cufflinks, hat pins and tie pins. The fine and costume jewellery display includes a selection of jewellery boxes and containers and photographs of people wearing the jewels.

One item of interest is the oval brooch featuring a bark painting by Doris O'Grady. It was donated by long term gallery supporter Heather Roland in 2012 and is one of the few items of jewellery held in the gallery's collection. The gold filigree brooch gives an insight into the range of work by Doris O'Grady and compliments our major collection of her watercolours. The brooch is from the mid 1960s when bark painting was very popular.

History of Jewellery in the Valley will be on display at the Grafton Regional Gallery from February 3 until March 13, 2016 in the Loft Gallery.

Drawing In Schools

Last year the Grafton Regional Gallery invited schools in the Clarence Valley to take part in the inaugural 2016 Drawing in Schools outreach program. The program starts with a series of visits by artists to the schools to present drawing workshops. A selection of the drawings created will then be presented in exhibitions at the gallery later this year.

The program aims to widen students' knowledge and understanding of the term 'drawing'. Drawing is loosely defined as the act of 'mark making' using a variety of materials including 2D, 3D and new media (may include digital drawing). For example in 2014 the Grafton Regional Gallery acquired its first digital drawing.

Drawing In Schools is complementary to the 2016 Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award (JADA) which opens on October 29. The JADA which is as part of the Jacaranda Festival has been the means by which the Grafton Regional Gallery has gathered an impressive collection of contemporary Australian drawings since 1988.

The program was quickly booked out last year and is now visiting primary schools at Copmanhurst, Gulmarrad, Maclean, Nymboida and Westlawn in the first half of the year. Drawing in Schools visits Grafton High, South Grafton High and Clarence Valley Anglican School in the second half.

Artist Kerrie Howland is delivering the program with back up from artist Rochelle Summerfield. Drawing In Schools has been made possible with the support of Arts NSW and the Clarence Valley Council.

Interact with some small art

When you visit the gallery register yourself as a bidder for our Postcard Show. Our desk volunteer will issue you with a number and give you stickers and a pen so you can bid on the many small gorgeous artworks on offer. Bidding starts at $20.

These highly desirable works have been donated by our local, regional and national artists to this biennial fundraiser of the Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award.

NAVA Courses for Artists

Artists and arts administrators will be interested in the online courses on offer at the National Association of Visual Artsts (NAVA). This professional organisation for visual artists is offering training to improve business and marketing skills. The three to seven week courses are flexible. Details are on NAVA's website.

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