Collie Art Gallery’s inaugural $50,000 Collie Art Prize, the richest individual acquisitive art prize to be offered in regional Australia, is expected to attract entries from across the country. The biennial prize has been made possible thanks to the generous commitment of Collie & Districts Community Bank Branch of the Bendigo Bank. The Rotary
The biennial prize has been made possible thanks to the generous commitment of Collie & Districts Community Bank Branch of the Bendigo Bank. The Rotary Club of Collie is also enthusiastically supporting the Gallery with two additional $5000 prizes, and a $1000 People’s Choice Prize provided by popular Collie bed and breakfast establishment Whispering Pines.
Collie, located 230k south of Perth might be best known for its coal mines and power station but is quickly developing a focus as a centre for the arts.
When the Gallery opened its doors for the first time just two years ago it was also the first time a purpose built A-class art gallery had been opened in WA since the Art Gallery of WA in the 1970s. It was an auspicious event representing the culmination of 40 years of passionate lobbying, planning and fundraising by local art lovers who wanted to create a home for the town’s significant art collection.
Collie & Districts Community Bank Branch of the Bendigo Bank contributed half a million dollars to the original building fund which also received funds from Shire of Collie’s and WA’s Royalty for Regions fund. The Gallery’s ongoing operations are entirely supported by the local community receiving not yet receiving any ongoing State or Federal arts funding.
Collie Art Gallery Chairperson, Trudi Curran, who is also head of Visual Arts at the nearby Collie Senior High school, explains how the organising committee came upon the theme of for the prize, “Most Australians agree that the arts enrich their lives and make them more meaningful. They participate in the arts for personal enjoyment, engagement with friends or family, self-expression, relaxation, skills development and income.
“The competition’s theme of Identity will invite artists to submit significant artworks which will explore the age-old issues of identity and belonging that define who we are and how we relate to the world around us.
“The theme is open to the exploration of our various identities and groups we belong to as they change over time and in different contexts.
“Factors that can be explored include upbringing, past experiences, gender, race or nationality, culture, age or maturity, education, work experience, socio-economic groups, religion, beliefs and values, the groups we belong to and the people we admire.
“The competition invites entries in a variety of mediums and artistic treatment of the subject that will ultimately combine in an exhibition which will provoke discussion and introspection.”
Don Clark, a member of the Collie Art Prize organising committee arrived to live in the town with his wife Dianne just after the Collie Art Gallery was opened. The couple had been involved in the early development of what is now known as the Cossack Art Awards and have high hopes for the future of the Collie Art Prize. Dianne is an accomplished watercolourist while Don claims no talent except for the ability to organise things and get them done.
“We’re committed to making the Collie Art Prize a success on all fronts. We want everyone involved, the participating artists, the people of Collie and the public whom we hope will come far and wide to see the exhibition and to recognise it as one of the best art events in Australia.
Entries to the Collie Art Prize in the first instance will by digital submission through the Gallery’s website. A panel of invited judges will select finalists who will then be invited to send their work to the Gallery in Collie, or to a designated drop off point in Perth. A separate panel of judges will then make the final decision on winning works that will be announced at an event on Friday, 2 March, at the Gallery.