The People's Choice Award is open for voting until December 2 at the Middleback Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to be an art critic.

Have you ever browsed through an art gallery or exhibition and subconsciously arranged all the art works from best to worst?

When most people visit a gallery or exhibition they will have thoughts like “yeh, I like that but I don’t like that” or things like “gee, that’s spectacular” or maybe even “wow, what are they thinking there?”

artprizeAs they say, “art is in the eye of the beholder” so the organisers of the Whyalla Art Prize would like everyone to come down to the Middleback Arts Centre to see the 55 finalists from this year’s awards and cast their vote for the $500 People’s Choice Award.

Whyalla remains on the cutting edge of the contemporary art world following this week’s awarding of the prestigious Whyalla Art Prize and now you can be involved. There are some amazing and even controversial pieces of artwork on display.

All the finalists’ artworks will be on show in the foyer of the arts centre until December 2 with free viewing and the chance to cast your vote.

The main prize has been decided with regional South Australia-based artist CJ Taylor, from Prospect Hill near McLaren Vale, taking out the $25,000 first prize with a video artwork titled The Hut (5/4). It is the second time video artwork has been included as an option for entrants and the first time this medium has won since the award started in 1972.

Whyalla Mayor Lyn Breuer said the aim of the prize was to attract contemporary art attention from across the country to the Whyalla region while also involving the community in art.

artprize“Every two years the Whyalla Art Prize attracts exciting new works from a notable size of artists nationwide,” Mayor Breuer said.

“It’s a wonderful way for the nation to see what Whyalla has to offer, and for Whyalla residents to be at the forefront of this great art prize. We feel privileged to play a part in furthering an artist’s practice.”

The award has meant the City of Whyalla has acquired a notable collection of artworks in iconic styles that reflect the changing face of the country over this time.

Competition co-ordinator and Visual Arts Program Curator for Country Arts SA, Eleanor Scicchitano said the council’s support of the awards showed Whyalla’s commitment to the arts through this nationally acclaimed competition.

“It shows there is a vibrant interest in the arts in Whyalla and the council’s commitment to contemporary art is a real positive,” Ms Scicchitano said.

“This year there has been a lot of interesting discussion in the Whyalla community about the artworks on show.

“The Whyalla Council’s support for these awards is important and puts the art world focus on Whyalla.”

The winning entry was chosen out of 55 finalists from 206 entrants from across the country. The finalists’ work included a variety of wall-based mediums such as oil, watercolour and acrylic on canvas, board and wood, video-based art works and even some unusual ones like garden hoses.

artprizeThe judges of this year’s prize were the Art Gallery of South Australia’s inaugural Curator of Contemporary Art, Leigh Robb; Director of the Riddoch Art Gallery, Dr Melentie Pandilovski and Paul Snell, winner of the 2015 Whyalla Art Prize

“The fact these works on display in the foyer of the Middleback Arts Centre makes it even more accessible to the Whyalla community and visitors,” Ms Scicchitano said.

“It’s proven very popular already and it’s a great opportunity for those that wouldn’t normally visit an art gallery to come down have a look.

“We are seeing some of the best contemporary art you will see in the country here in Whyalla and this is a great way for people to experience it.”

The Whyalla Art Prize was originally established by the Whyalla Arts Council with the purpose of promoting regional emerging artists, but has since grown to attract entrants from right around Australia, putting this region of South Australia under a national arts spotlight every two years. Country Arts SA, supported by the City of Whyalla, delivers and manages the Prize.

For the first time this year, a selection of works from the finalists will be on display at the Adelaide Airport from mid-December until late January 2018. This will provide finalists with international exposure from a wide variety of foot traffic at the capital city’s only airport during the busy holiday period.


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