A partnership between local artists and environmentalists has been hailed a success, despite COVID restrictions.
For the first time in its five years, the annual Summer Cooler exhibition by the members of Galleries in the Gardens (GIG) was sponsored by the Myall Koala and Environment Group (MKEG). This was the gallery’s first Summer Cooler to award cash prizes given by a sponsor.
The environment group provided prizes for a painting and for a ceramic sculpture in this year’s competition, on the theme of “A Celebration of Nature around the Myall”.
Anne Stuart, acting GIG vice-president and head of curatorial, read out a message from the competition judge Mel Redcliffe, a practicing artist exhibiting throughout Newcastle and the Central Coast, who was unable to attend the evening.
“The art was highly commendable making it very difficult to choose the winners,” Ms Redcliffe said. She felt the two works that were chosen captured the Myall wilderness.
The painting Myall Sanctuary by Bev Struik was the winner in the painting category.
A collaboration between painter Gail Rust and ceramicist David Matheson won the ceramic section with a stunning statue titled Songs of The Trees, which included a poem by Gail reflecting the work.
GIG President Emilie Tseronis thanked the Myall Koala Group for their sponsorship and said the artists were thrilled to collaborate with the environment group and hoped to become more involved with the community of like-minded groups.
The president of MKEG, Richard Streamer, handed over the winners’ cheques totalling $600 and said the collaboration’s major value was having the environment front-and-centre in the minds of residents and summer visitors, through the intermediary of the gallery and the art on display.
“It promotes greater awareness of our wonderful environment, the threats to it and how people can do something practical through engagement with MKEG and our work,” he said.
MKEG publicist Adrienne Ingram said everyone involved had worked harmoniously together to launch the Summer Cooler under difficult circumstances, in a COVID-safe way.
The exhibition will run at the Galleries in the Gardens on Marine Drive, Tea Gardens, till 31 January, and a GIG fundraising raffle will be drawn on Friday 28 January. Funds raised will go to Wildlife in Need of Care (WINC).
A raffle by MKEG will be drawn over Easter, with tickets being sold online at myallkoala.org. Funds will go towards protecting the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens wildlife and environment.