Eltham Art Show

Words by Hank Tyler

The highly anticipated inaugural Rotary Eltham Art Show opened last month to an enthusiastic crowd of artists and arts enthusiasts. The sold out gala opening event was attended by several hundred guests and visited by more than 1,000 people over the ensuing weekend.

The exhibition was put together with the help of numerous people from within and outside of Rotary. The driving force however was Rotarian and art show convener Brenda Ibels. Ibels  conceived the idea for the show and is lauded by many for her vision and hard work over two and a half years.

As an invitational art prize, entries were open exclusively to artists associated with Nillumbik. Nillumbik’s art heritage reaches into the associations of the Twenty Melbourne Painters Society and the Victorian Artists Society, both of which were represented in the show along with other respected local artists. Eltham Community and Reception Centre served as the venue which was provided by event partner, Nillumbik Shire Council. Strong support from local sponsors contributed to a prize pool of $13,200.

Three selectors chose 450 works by 170 artists. Brenda Innes from Camberwell Rotary curated the exhibition. And art consultant, curator, valuer and writer, Caroline Field judged the entries. Field remarked that the judging was a difficult task given the high level of skill and expertise among the artists. Announcing the Best in Show winner, Field commented that modern and contemporary themes ran through the work; that it was speaking to travel and the past and families; that it was optimistic and cheeky and full of boldly applied colour… and the top gong went to Sandra Kenney for her work “Covid Travel”.

Other prize winners were:

Best Oil/Acrylic Painting: Linda MacAuly, Chrissies Pond”

Best Watercolor, Pastel, Ink, Pencil: Ev Hales, Hopkins River Flow

Best Australian Landscape: Tara Stubley, Dream a Little Dream

Best Printmaking: Kate Hudson, Silky Oak and Waratah

Best Ceramic/Sculpture: Jane Annois, Golden Vase

People’s Choice Award: Jacquie Hacansson, Dance to the Beat of Your Own Drum

Ibels called the show a great success saying that the response from the community was exactly what she was hoping for and more. After a very short break, plans are already under way for next year’s show.