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Bundaberg Art Prize finds new CBD home for exhibition

This year’s Bundaberg Art Prize exhibition has found a unique home in the Bundaberg CBD, taking over the vacant space on the corner of Bourbong and Tantitha Street.

This year’s Bundaberg Art Prize exhibition has found a unique home in the Bundaberg CBD, taking over the vacant space on the corner of Bourbong and Tantitha Street.

The exhibition will run for two weeks from Saturday 11 September until Saturday 25 September, with entries closing this Friday 27 August.

Bundaberg Art Prize President Phil Oakley said the opportunity to host the event in the quirky space would certainly add to the uniqueness of the event.

“This year’s venue is quirky and we won’t know exactly how it looks until we have filled out the spaces but we love the feel of the new venue,” Phil said.

“There are two adjoining spaces which we have christened the ‘Showroom’ and the ‘Pit’, but I won't say anymore, people will just have to come along and have a look themselves.

“The exhibition will have the opening night on September 10 which is a launch event full of food, drinks and music – it is a bit of an art party.”

With only a few days left to enter, Phil said any artist who was thinking about entering should, with a range of different artists submitting work for many different reasons.

“Some people are entering in the hope they will win it or at least get a prize, some are hoping that there artworks might sell, some are entering because they want to show their artworks and bring joy to those who look at it,” he said.

“For some it will be the first time they've entered something in public so it can be daunting, some want to get a message across which they often find easier through art and some people are just in it because they want to be part of showing the Bundaberg public what an art mad city we are.”

Bundaberg Art Prize
Inside the new Bundaberg Art Prize exhibition space.

Phil said public recognition of the work of local artists is fantastic, with the Bundaberg Art Prize providing an opportunity for this for local talent.

“I think the public recognition of their work is equally important to the artists, a lot of artists are quite insular so to get any sort of award is great but to get a large prestigious award can be a great confidence boost,” he said.

“I think most people are surprised at the quality of what they see.

“There will be great art across all different media types and if you come to the opening night you've got a great chance of buying that piece you've been looking for before someone else gets in there before you.”

While Maryanne Coutts of Sydney was originally due to judge the competition, the current COVID restrictions have prompted a change in judge, with the judging now being handed over to Professor Elisabeth Findlay, Director of the Queensland College of Art (SCA), Griffith University.

“Elisabeth is also an art historian specialising in portraiture, Australian colonial art and nineteenth century art,” he said.

“Trying to second guess what a judge might pick as a winner based on their background is precarious, so we always encourage people to create what feels best for them and something that comes from their heart.”

The Bundaberg Art Prize team are still looking for volunteers, with assistance required for a range of pre-event roles including setting up and during the two weeks of the exhibition.

“We're always looking for volunteers with any skillsets, including people who might be happy to give a few hours helping to run the venue over the two weeks, which generally involves just being in the space, while people wander through the exhibition,” he said.

“We also need people who might be handy with a paint brush for painting walls and those with some DIY skills to help with making stuff, and people just to muck in and do whatever needs doing.

“Longer term we're also looking at people with marketing, social media skills and other organisational skills to get involved.”

To enter the art prize, head to the website.

Should you be available to help, please email the team at bundabergartprize@gmail.com.

Tickets can be purchased for the opening night here.

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