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West Gippsland Arts Circuit with Wombat Lyons (May 2012)

The Creative Gippsland Be Inspired May Arts Festival is in full swing, shining a spotlight on the success and strength of the arts scene in West Gippsland.

But this festival is only 30 days. The arts are a true part of our community and the evidence of this is the strength and number of art shows that occur in West Gippsland throughout the year.

I love art shows; they bring the creativity of professional artists and hobbyists like myself to the same space. This year, for the first time, I exhibited paintings in the Trafalgar Rotary Art Show, and it was fantastic to see my works on the same walls as those by high profile local artists like Meg Abrecht, Joan Bognuda, Alene Bonser, Wendy Olsen and Helen Timbury.

Each year, the Rotary Club of Trafalgar host this art show around April and President Peter Cooke recorded in his welcome that “this year (2012) we are pleased to note that our entries have significantly increased, particularly from young artists.”

As well as the art shows of West Gippsland seeing more artists submitting woks, the number of arts shows, especially community art shows highlights the strength of our creative community.

The year started with the Trafalgar Rotary Art show and will end with the Warragul Rotary Art show, known in recent years as ‘Art Gippsland.’ The year includes art shows like the Tanjil Valley Art Show occurring in the smaller community of Hill End and the art shows that link with the Be Inspired May Arts Festival, includng the Creative Yarragon Art Show and the Jindivick Sculpture Show.

Venues for these shows vary; the Trafalgar Rotary Art Show spills over two community buildings, the Baw Baw Shire building and the neighbouring community centre. The Warragul Rotary Show finds its home in the fountain room of the West Gippsland Arts Centre, and community halls such as the former Hill End School and the Yarragon Public Hall host other shows.

Each show has its strengths. The Trafalgar Rotary Art Show’s strength has been the inclusion of art from school students and a very large photography section. Art Gippsland (Warragul Rotary Art Show) is known for attracting a wider range of artists especially those from East Gippsland and Latrobe City areas. The Tanjil Valley Art Show has become very well known for its still life works, flower studies and strong themes; this year their theme for 2D and 3D art is “From the Tanjil Valley to Baw Baw” – a theme I have found challenging to create a work for and look forward to seeing how other artists have responded.

Participation in these community art shows is easy and often strongly encouraged by the organisers, who are always a dedicated group of volunteers putting in an unbelievable amount of hours to make these events possible. I often forget what these volunteers need to organise to make these events possible; media releases, distribution of entry forms, sponsorship, venue hire, shire permits, secretarial work to name a few tasks and I hope these wonderful people know how much the local artistic community appreciates their efforts.

Participation in local art shows is easy – the evidence is if Wombat can do it, you can do it. Most shows distribute printed entry forms and these can be found at places like art supply shops and the commercial galleries of our community, such as those mentioned in my column in The Warragul Citizen in January.

It is important to read the conditions of entry. Most will require you to have your works for sale, to have the works ready to be hung and have details of the work on the back such as artists name, title and price. Most will have a small entry fee to help cover the cost of entry and the shows often charge a commission on sales. These are often very small commissions of between 10 and 20 per cent.

I encourage you to submit your creativity and participate in some of the local art shows.

Entries for the Creative Yarragon Art Show 2012 have closed, but readers can view the show at the Yarragon Public Hall, Campbell Street – Opening night Friday 18 May – 6.30pm to 9pm, or open on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th of May 2012, 10.30am to 5pm. Entry costs a gold coin donation.

Tanjil Valley Art Show entries close on the 25th May 2012 and forms can be found at the sites suggested above or by contacting Alene on 5635 4272, and keep an eye out as many more art shows will occur over the second half of the year.

The Trafalgar Rotary Art Show has been and gone for 2012, but hopefully will return in 2013 with details normally out in January.

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