The 36th Taree Open Art Exhibition

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The 36th Taree Open Art Exhibition is being held from 7 – 15 July at the Taree High School Hall. In 2011, nearly 400 entries from states across Eastern Australia entered into the exhibition, with an impressive 46 paintings being sold.


There are eight sections for various mediums, with total prize money exceeding $5,000 – including a major prize of $1,000 for the overall winner.

Publicity Officer Roy Prentice tells us about the exhibition …

The exhibition is held during the school holidays and will be a great opportunity for many people to see an interesting and diversified range of art works. Judging will take place on Friday 6 July by Deb Wall, who is the Curator of the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, where she has worked since 2006.

Opening night is really special, with the attendance of our Patrons Mave Richardson, Doctor Colin Rose, Mike Collins and some of our many sponsors. On Friday 6 July, the doors open at 6.30pm and prize presentation will commence at 7.30, and this year the exhibition will be opened by John Bulmer, who is the Regional Manager, Mid North Coast, Fairfax Regional Media. There will be a small entry fee for this night of $10, which will include light refreshments and nibbles.

At last year’s opening night, we were fortunate to be entertained by the famous maestro of the Spanish Guitar, Quentin Arnold. Quentin has played widely in Australia and overseas. He is a popular entertainer at many corporate functions. His music was enjoyed so much by people attending the Opening, he has been invited back this year, and he has accepted the invitation. During the following nine days, entry will be free. The exhibition will be open every day from 9am to 4pm, with the exception of the last day (Sunday 15 July), when it will close at 2pm.

Roy, the Taree Open Art Exhibition has been running for 36 years … tell us about the history of the exhibition and how it has managed to sustain itself for this long.

The Taree Open is one of the longest running non-selective exhibitions in NSW. Even though it is officially in its 36th year, the exhibition has been running at various venues for more than 50 years; the first venue was the basement of the Taree Council Offices. It was started by the original Taree Council so long ago, that none of the present members can remember the exact date. The Taree Art Society was formed to take the exhibition over from the Council and it has been shown at the Taree Information Centre, The Big Oyster, and about nine years ago moved to the Taree High School Hall.

How many entries are you anticipating this year? 

Entries closed on Wednesday 6 June, with a record number of 409 coming from local and interstate artists. Interstate entries are down, which may be due to one of the Art Couriers no longer being able to provide a delivery service; however, local entries have shown a marked increase. Art works delivered by hand must be delivered to the Taree High School Hall on Tuesday 3 July between 9 -11am. All works must be the original work of the artist and completed in the last two years and not exhibited in a previous Taree Open Art Exhibition.

The exhibition is billed as the only non-selective art exhibition in the Manning Valley … what does the term non-selective mean?

Non-selective means that the exhibition is open to all artists who enter and none of the entries are selected by image review; the only refusals are those which may be deemed oversized, offensive, or are considered wet or late entries.

Has there been a conscious marketing strategy to entice other interstate artists to enter into the exhibition, or has their involvement evolved through word of mouth?

It has sustained and improved its status because of its non-selective process and its artist friendly approach, mainly by word of mouth and through advertising in the Australian Artist magazine.

What are the eight mediums artists can enter works into, and which are the most popular genres? 

There are eight sections in the exhibition; all sections have a winner and a runner up. Artists are allowed to enter a total of four works across sections 1-6, with a maximum of two works per section. In section 7 for miniatures, artists can enter four works and section 8, a maximum of two works.

Section 1 – is the most popular and is oil or acrylic on board or canvas. First prize in each is $500, with the second prize being $100; others may also be granted a highly commended or commended certificate.

Section 2 – is any water-based medium on paper.

 Section 3 – is for pastels (Phillipa Clyne Memorial Prize).

Section 4 – is the open section for any medium, plus mixed media, collage, or print-making. Section 4 has a rider attached: photos or computer generated images are accepted only when incorporated with other media in this section. They must be less than 50% of the total work.

 Section 5 – drawing only, using any drawing medium.

 Section 6 – open to members of Taree Artist Inc. who have never won a 1st prize in any of the other sections in the last five years, any medium. There are 3 prizes: 1st $300, 2nd $100 and 3rd $50.

Section 7 – miniatures; any medium may be used. 1st prize $300, 2nd $100.

Section 8 – is for three dimensional works, for sculpture, pottery, or mobile.

Who is involved in the judging process?

Judging will be carried out by Deb Wall on Friday 6 July. The judge is given a list of numbers and titles of works only, the names of the artists are not supplied to her and it is purely the artists’ skills and appeal that the works are appraised on and the winners declared.

The Taree Open Art Exhibition is one of the most generous in the state of NSW and has over $5,000 in prize money. The major prize of $1,000 for the best work in the exhibition may be chosen from any section. Last year’s winner of the major prize was local artist Jo Ernst from Mooral Creek, with her drawing titled, Winston. Jo Ernst is one of the many very talented artists who live in the Manning and Great Lakes area.

Jo has studied Fine Arts in Paris and New York under the tuition of such eminent tutors as Seth Jacobs. Jo lived in the Blue Mountains for a number of years in Leura and has held a number of great exhibitions at Katoomba Fine Arts Gallery, and her beautiful, delicate artworks are always in demand.

In 2011, a total 46 artworks were sold, with a portion of the sales proceeds going to the Oncology Unit at Manning Base Hospital. Which part of the sales proceeds will be going to a particular cause this year?

All the art works are for sale. Last year 46 works were sold to the public, and each year a percentage of the sales value is donated to a worthy cause. A 20% commission is taken out of the sales value, and of that, half is donated to a charity. Last year a considerable donation was made to FOGS, Friends of the Regional Gallery in Taree, and the previous year a substantial donation was given to the Oncology Unit at the Manning Base Hospital.

This year donations will go to Taree High School as a mark of appreciation for the use of the Hall facilities over the past nine years. Art works that have been purchased can be collected at the conclusion of the exhibition on Sunday 15 July.

The success of the exhibition is reliant on the involvement of Taree Artists Inc. plus generous contributions by the              community …

The ongoing success of the society and the Taree Open is due in no small way to the large group of volunteers from Taree Artists Inc. led by our President and fellow artist Isabel Pringle, and Exhibition Secretary, Helga Visser.

The assistance given by The Greater Taree City Council and volunteer groups, including Lions, FOGS and Regional Gallery staff all adds to the prominence and prestige with which the Open is held.

All the artists taking part in this exhibition realise and appreciate that it is, thanks to the sponsors who donate so generously the prize money each year, that helps to make it the outstanding exhibition it has become. We are presently seeking a generous company or person to sponsor the major prize of $1,000.

Thank you Roy.

This story was published in issue 65 of the Manning-Great Lakes Focus

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