Gallery calling all local artists for biannual exhibition

ARTISTS looking to showcase their work are in luck, with the Southern Downs Regional Artists Exhibition returning to the Warwick Art Gallery in April.

The Gallery Management Committee has spent the past two years rethinking this biannual opportunity for Southern Downs artists with the outcome being more than double the prize money and an exciting new section.

The last exhibition in 2013 was successful with good entries across three sections including paintings, sculpture and contemporary textiles.

Artist feedback was very positive about the opportunity to exhibit and have their work assessed by a professional judge with the chance to win a cash prize.

The committee noticed, however, strong interest in the number of photography and drawing entries so they decided to add a new section this year to cater for this.

Helen Harm from Helen Harm Real Estate has partnered with the gallery again to sponsor the new photography and drawing section.

The real estate agent said she was pleased to be involved in supporting the artistic talents of the area.

"We've gone through adverse times over the last few years. It is good to do something positive adding colour and flair to the community outlook in contrast to the dismal things happening in the world," she said.

In addition to the new section the committee had a vision to double the prize money and, with the support of local businesses, is able to offer four $1000 prizes.

Warwick Credit Union will sponsor the ever popular painting section.

Warwick Credit Union CEO Lewis Von Stieglitz said he was delighted to be involved.

"We are pleased to make a contribution as we strongly support excellence in the community and artistic endeavour," he said.

Rose City Shoppingworld were also keen to support the contemporary textile section of the awards with its close relationship to the centre's fashion retailers and another Warwick Art Gallery project Jumpers and Jazz in July.

Centre manager Jason Gard spoke of the centre's excitement at being involved in the awards.

"Rose City Shoppingworld is proud to be a sponsor of the contemporary textiles category," he said,

"We are excited to assist artists of the Southern Downs to reach their full ability".

Warwick Art Gallery has contributed funds towards all sections but the sculpture section will be an area of particular interest this year. Warwick Art Gallery director Karina Devine said she was encouraging local emerging sculptors to enter.

"The Southern Downs has a significant number of exciting artists working in sculptural mediums. The gallery is enthusiastic about supporting this section as it is always very popular with visitors and adds to the visual appeal of the whole exhibition," she said.

The guest judge is gallery director Nina Shadforth from Noosa Regional Gallery.

To enter their work local artists need to visit Warwick Art Gallery to pick up an entry form. Forms are due by March 12.

The exhibition will open on April 2 with winners announced on Friday, April 10.

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