By TESSA MAPSTONE
A NEW Noosa Art Award has been announced by the Noosa Council, and according to Councillor Tony Wellington it is a “perfect fit”.
“Noosa has a well-earned reputation for its varied creative activities, and the new acquisitive art prize will be another feather in Noosa’s cultural cap,” he told Noosa Today.
The inaugural national prize is set to boost the region and bring local artists into the cultural spotlight while building Noosa Regional Gallery’s permanent collection with works that reflect the unique character of coastal and hinterland environments.
Noosa Regional Gallery director Nina Shadforth said the award aimed to create a unique drawcard for the area “that enhances cultural tourism and makes it an accessible and desirable collection for visitors to Noosa”.
Entry is open to all Australian artists and designers practising in 2D and 3D mediums, with special categories for artists from Noosa, the Sunshine Coast and Gympie, and for ‘emerging artists’ in tertiary arts education.
It comes soon after the decision by the State Government to relocate visual arts training away from the Tewantin TAFE campus, a move Cr Wellington said was “unfortunate” for Noosa’s overall creative environment.
“Too often the arts are undervalued in terms of both their contribution to society and also their significant role in the national economy,” he said.
“Prior to entering local politics, I worked full-time in the creative industries.
“As a result, I regularly came up against prejudices suggesting that what I did was not ‘real work’.
“But making a living as an artist is by no means a soft option in terms of career, and art awards play a critical role in helping artists achieve the necessary accreditation to make a living in what is, after all, a hugely competitive arena.”
Ms Shadforth said the award would be a chance for local artists to benchmark themselves against the national level.
“We need to support our up and coming artists with opportunities,” she said.
“For many emerging artists, the dream of having an exhibition in a regional gallery is something that is far off in the horizon, so it is about giving them a little taste as well.
“We have the opportunity to be the cultural capital of the Sunshine Coast and there is quite a vibrant cultural community in Noosa already.”