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Indepth Arts News:

"Cairns Art Societies 55th Annual Open Art Awards"
2001-08-10 until 2001-09-09
Cairns Regional Gallery
Cairns, QL, AU

The Cairns Art Society, one of the region's oldest and most influential arts organisations, celebrates another milestone in 2001, this year marking the Societies 70th birthday. The Open Art Awards is an annual competition hosted by the Cairns Art Society, culminating in a month-long showing of works at Cairns Regional Gallery. The competition is open to artists from throughout the region and across the country, Exhibition Co-ordinator Leanne Donne saying expressions of interest had been received from across Australia.

We promote the Open Art Awards nationally through The Australian Artist magazine and subsequently we have received entries from as far afield as the Margaret River region in Western Australia and Adelaide, Ms Donne said.

The Cairns Art Society Open Art Awards have earnt themselves quite a reputation over the years, with people calling from across the state and country wanting to enter works, she said.

The Cairns Art Society (CAS) Open Art Awards are so named as they are open to any artist, working in any medium with any subject matter, the ultimate aim being to present the work of local artists alongside that of their nationally based peers.

Rather than displaying one kind of work, the CAS exhibition showcases a cross-section of the visual arts - there is no doubt that everyone who visits the exhibition will find something that appeals to them, Ms Donne said.

Whilst the primary objective of the Open Art Awards is to provide solo artists with the opportunity to feature their works at Cairns Regional Gallery, it also provides a strong link amongst other Far Northern community groups.

The Open Art Awards provides a valuable link to numerous community organisations who contribute artworks to the exhibition ... it also provides local artists with the motivation to 'strive towards artistic excellence' with the opportunity to showcase their works at the regional gallery, she said.

The Art Society receives a mass of both corporate and private support for their Open Art Awards, with more than 20 prizes on offer in this year's exhibition. Supporters of the Open Art Awards receive an original artwork in thanks for their generosity; thus the event has become a somewhat acquisitive exhibition.

The 188 artworks entered in this year's Awards represent a variety of mediums and subject matters, with the difficult task of judging being given to Philip Bacon, Owner/Director of the Philip Bacon Gallery in Brisbane.

The judge's decision will be final, with the ten winners and ten highly-commended artists being announced at the exhibitions official opening on Friday August 10th A breakdown of categories and prizes follow.

Cairns City Council Open Award - $3000
Any subject, any medium. All entries are eligible to win.

The Bendigo Bank Award - $2000
A still life painting any subject any medium.

The Cairns Post Award - $2000
For a portrait painting, any medium

The Federal Member for Leichhardt Award, Warren Entsch MP - $1800
Art Society Members only
Traditional oil painting depicting Far North Queensland landscape or seascape

The Ron Ireland Award - $1800
A traditional watercolour painting - any subject

The Lou Piccone Family Award - $1800
Traditional painting depicting a historic landmark of Far North Queensland, any medium

The Ansate Australia Award Value, $1000
(Single return air fare Cairns - Sydney: Valid for one year)
Representational landscape or seascape painting depicting Far North Queensland, mixed mediums

The Bulkabag Award - $800
Three dimensional / sculpture / ceramics or freestanding work, any medium.

Roland Graf Auto Centre Award - $450
For a drawing in charcoal, pencil, pastel mediums - any subject

Making it's exciting debut in 2001 is a new award, the Unpackers Choice. Sponsored by Michel and Elaine McAuliffe the Unpackers Award is being judged prior to the opening by a panel of 10 people, comprised of participating artists and Cairns Art Society members. It is hoped the Unpackers Prize will be continued in subsequent years of the Awards.

The Cairns Art Society are also producing a catalogue in conjunction with their 55th Annual Open Art Awards exhibition, which will be available for sale through the Gallery Shop at a cost of $3.00.

With a membership range extending from teenagers to individuals in their 80's, the Cairns Art Societies 55th Annual Open Art Awards has a strong and overriding sense of community value. It will be officially opened by Cairns Regional Gallery Chairman, and former Mayor of Cairns, Mr Ron Davis AM at the Gallery on Friday August 10th.

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