It all started when…
The Pyrenees Art Exhibition is the main event for the Pyrenees Arts Council. The Pyrenees Arts Council commenced in 1995 and over the past 23 years this group has created a formidable resume of promoting and auspicing ‘art’ activities within the Pyrenees Shire.
You may remember some of these:
the “Yarn Event” and “Up The Garden Path” festivals.
The Millennium Celebrations (lantern making and the celebrations at Beaufort Lake).
The Arty Doors competitions
Organ, Trumpet and Choral recitals.
Quilt & Craft Autumn Walks
The “Frabrications” Craft Expo.
Poetry and play reading evenings, the Bard of Beaufort and Bush Poetry events.
Paper Boat Races at the Beaufort Lake.
The Arts Council also provides Music Scholarships for Primary & Secondary students and support our member groups—the Beaufort Municipal Band, the Pyrenees Choral and Knit & Craft Group.
Who we are…
The Pyrenees Arts Council is a small group of people committed to assisting local artists or craftsmen to further their interest in the arts and to promote theatrical or artistic performance.
It had long been a ‘wish list’ item for the Arts Council to hold a first class art event for the people of the Pyrenees Shire, both patrons and artists, but being a small group, the scale of such an undertaking seemed beyond our capabilities.
However, with the knowledge that art shows conducted by Rotary Clubs are considered to be successful and well run, the Pyrenees Arts Council invited the Rotary Club of Beaufort to join forces and together we presented the first Pyrenees Art Exhibition & Sale in 2006. This partnership has been highly successful and continues to flourish.
The inaugural Art Show was an amazing surprise to the organising committee. We had not expected to receive the quantity and quality of entries that arrived, and the show was an overwhelming success.
Over the past 13 Exhibitions, we have had over 5,307 entries from 1,441 artists with 94 photographers. photography categories were added in 2016, (figures include Junior artists and photographers). We have paid out over $83,300 in prize money and welcomed around 5,800 visitors to the Exhibition and the district. Nearly 400 paintings have been sold and the Artists who enter year after year, tell us they do so because of the quality presentation of their art work, our first class facilities, prize money and professionalism. High praise indeed for a small, but dedicated community group. On average, about 44% of artists who have entered this Exhibition received a prize or sold a painting.
We have been fortunate to have generous sponsors who have supported us from the first years of the event, enabling us to provide excellent prize money and assist in covering operating costs.
Starting out as a Rotary/Arts Council event, it was through a determined effort by the organising committee that we were able to expand the opportunities and involve a number of community groups who would all benefit financially from the Art Show. The participation of groups such as the Girl Guides who provide the Devonshire Teas and the Waubra School Parents Club who collect and deliver the painting stands, has seen the Art Exhibition become an event for the whole community. Currently there are approximately 75 people who work together to set up and successfully run the Pyrenees Art Exhibition & Sale, which now includes the Rotary Second Hand Book Sale, Junior Art & Senior & Junior Photography sections, Craft, Quilting and other Exhibitions, and the Art Trax Gallery.
The flow on effect from the Art Show has been beneficial to many local businesses, with patrons visiting the various shops, eateries and other places of interest in the town and district, and has contributed to the overall economic development of the area.
Once the hard work is done, paintings hung and the judge has made his decisions, it’s time for a celebration. Each year, more than one hundred guests including many dignitaries. sponsors and artists, gather in the Shire Hall for the opportunity to preview the works of art. They have the first chance to purchase their favourite painting, meet the artists and enjoy a glass of locally produced bubbly and a delicious supper. This entertaining evening sets the scene for a wonderful weekend.