Collie is again set to launch one of regional Australia’s richest art prizes, following the success of the inaugural 2018 edition which drew more than 500 entries nationally and attracted hundreds of visitors to the town.
Collie Art Gallery’s $50,000 Collie Art Prize (CAP2020) is one of regional Australia’s richest individual art prizes, and forms part of the coal mining town’s push to diversify its economy into tourism and other industries.
The Gallery is now calling on artists throughout the country to begin working on their pieces, with entries opening on October 31, 2019 and closing on January 3, 2020. The winner and runners-up will be announced at a gala event on February 29, 2020.
Collie Art Gallery is Western Australia’s first purpose-built A-class community art gallery since the Art Gallery of WA opened in 1979.
The inaugural 2018 edition of the biennial prize attracted 523 entries from around Australia – more than double the estimate – with one-third coming from outside WA.
More than 670 out-of-town visitors viewed the Collie Art Prize 2018 exhibition over six weeks, with many staying overnight in local hotels. Restaurants, pubs and hospitality operators enjoyed spikes in business during the exhibition’s run.
The event not only paid for itself, but fulfilled its broader goal of providing benefits to the local economy and small business – while beginning to establish the town as a centre for the arts in regional WA.
The interest in the Collie Art Prize correlated with a five-fold increase in traffic to the town’s main tourism website, https://www.collierivervalley.com.au, from an average of about 4,000 hits a month to almost 20,000.
First prize for the 2018 edition was won by Queensland artist Brian Robinson for his piece ‘By Virtue of This Act I Hereby Take Possession of This Land’. Runners-up were Alastair Taylor for ‘Synchronymity’ and Collie’s own Sarah Smith for ‘Cotton Candy’.
The McGowan Government has recently provided funding to Collie Art Gallery, with a $40,000 Lotterywest grant to support community arts activities and a $7,000 contribution from the Regional Venues Improvement Fund.
As stated by Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman:
“The inaugural Collie Art Prize attracted entries from many of Australia’s top artists and I look forward to Collie again being one of the country’s top regional arts spots as we head towards the awarding of the CAP2020 prize.
“The arts have so much to offer regional WA in terms of tourism and town activation, and I commend Collie Art Gallery and the town at large for their hard work in developing this event.
“The success of the inaugural prize speaks for itself and I call on visual artists around the country to get involved in this terrific program.”
As stated by Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray:
“Collie Art Gallery offers so much potential for Collie, in terms of diversifying our economy and showing tourists we have a lot to offer.
“I commend organisers for thinking big with the Collie Art Prize and I look forward to seeing some of Australia’s best art right here in town early next year.
“I’d like to thank the Bendigo Bank, the Rotary Club of Collie and Whispering Pines B&B for their important contribution to the Collie Art Prize, and of course the hardworking and dedicated Collie Art Gallery Committee.”
As stated by Collie Art Gallery Chairperson Trudi Curran:
“The Collie Art Gallery is very pleased and excited to organise the second Collie Art Prize.
“The response we received from the arts community as well as the general public has been far above our expectations and we have been encouraged by the support we have received from local business and community organisations.
“We are looking forward to seeing some creative responses to our Identity theme once again.”