29 March – 28 May 2017 | WPAC
An exhibition that celebrates 20 years of the King Valley Art Show. Growing in stature for two decades, the King Valley Art Show now stands as a popular show that embraces diverse styles and attracts significant sponsorship.
It is occasionally challenged that the purpose of art has little relevance in today’s society. Over the last 20 years the King Valley Art Show has defied this claim, growing from strength to strength it has secured itself as an annual highlight on the arts and cultural calendar in North East Victoria.
The show began in 1996 where all good things start in rural communities at the local pub! A small group of King Valley business people decided ‘The Valley’ was worthy of promoting as a tourist destination. The following year in 1997, the first King Valley Art Show was held in the modest surrounds of the Whitfield Uniting Church. Prizes totalling to just over $2000 were offered.
Today the show is a major tourism attraction for the region, drawing over 800 visitors to the King Valley during its three day run in June. With a prize pool of $18,750, including a grand prize of $3,000 sponsored by Dal Zotto Wines. This year’s show is expected to attract more than 400 entries from both amateur and professional artists.
Celebrating the event and on display are the 18 Grand Winners, as chosen by the judges appointed each year by the KVAS Organising Committee. These Grand Winners reflect the subjective choices of the varied judges over 2 decades.
The artworks also reflect the incremental increase of awareness of the King Valley Art Show by a broader range of artists than many local art shows attract. Jim Pavlidis popped up in 2008, followed by realist stalwart Walter Magilton in 2011. And the Grand Winner of 2014, Graeme Peebles, would be an unlikely winner in just about any other rural art show in Australia despite his well-established credentials.
Australian art ‘aristocracy’ made an appearance when Peter Churcher was the judge in 2006 and a distinct international flavour wafted in with Robert McLaurin in 2008.
However, the King Valley Art Show has also managed to retain its local art show credentials. It accepts all complying entries without hesitation. Novice artists, in particularly local ones, are strongly represented and any wins or sales they enjoy are enthusiastically celebrated by all artists.
King Valley Art Show President, Anita Laurence, says “As the reputation of the show has grown, so has the calibre of entries. We’re thrilled to be able to give artists the opportunity to show their work to a wider audience, and perhaps be rewarded for it.”
But how do you grow the prize pool over 20 years by 837% in an art show held in a small rural community with about 800 residents? Put simply: you get the community behind it.
The King Valley Art Show has always attracted unwavering community support. Many local businesses sponsor a prize and, the local school parents cater for the hugely popular Friday night Gala Opening. The show is held in a well-loved local venue, and locals truly take an interest and pride in its success.
And the King Valley Art Show also puts back. It’s thanks to the success of the show over the years that has established a grants program which supports other events and initiatives held throughout the year that enrich the King Valley’s arts culture and thus benefit the community.
The 2017 King Valley Art Show will be held from 9 June to 12 June at King River Brewing, opening to the public from 10am until 5pm from Saturday until Monday. Entry is $3 for adults, children free. For more information www.kingvalleyartshow.com.au.
image: Walter MAGILTON, January On The Wonangatta