Competitions held as part of the 2015 Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival are set to increase in prestige and popularity, with over $8000 prize money now being offered in a range of creative arenas. In particular, with generous support from long-time sponsor the Balnaves Foundation – who this year increased its prize money for the John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art Prize to $7000 – entries for the hallmark competition is expected to rise considerably.
“The John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art Prize is a highly anticipated event of the Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival – both for entrants and Festival goers – and this year is no exception,” said Art Prize co-ordinator, Kristen Bence.
“It has previously attracted a wide range of entries from artists and designers working in a two dimensional medium, and has firmly made its mark on the artists’ calendar,” said Ms Bence.
The John Shaw Acquisitive Art Prize is open to all emerging and established artists from throughout Australia, and hopes to attract many entries.
“We are incredibly grateful for the generous, unwavering support from the Balnaves Foundation who has sponsored this Art Prize over many years,” said Ms Bence. “It is only through support such as this that enables the John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art Prize to grow in stature and respect,” she said.
The Balnaves Foundation is a private philanthropic organisation established in 2006 by Neil Balnaves AO to provide support to charitable enterprises across Australia.
Dispersing over $2.5 million annually, the Foundation supports eligible organisations that aim to create a better Australia through education, medicine and the arts with a focus on young people, the disadvantaged and Indigenous communities.
The John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art Prize is one of the biggest events of the annual Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival held in May. John Shaw Neilson was born in South Australia’s Penola in 1872 and while he only spent the first nine years of his life there, Neilson went on to produce poetry which would herald him as one of Australia’s most original and important lyric poets.
In addition to the Acquisitive Art Prize of $7000, a Local Art Prize of $500 gives local Limestone Coast artists an opportunity to have their work recognised.
All artists – amateur, professional and students – are encouraged to enter, and each two dimensional artwork, suitably framed and ready for hanging, must be of a subject inspired by the poetry of John Shaw Neilson.
The Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival Design Prize is also expected to attract graphic designers and artists from throughout Australia. With sponsorship from a long time individual supporter of the Festival, together with Penola High School, the prize money for this year will total five hundred dollars. The challenge is to create the design concept for the 2016 Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival which will be used for all promotional material including a full colour programme, A3 posters, flyers, website design, banners and more.
It has been created to celebrate creativity and excellence and provides an ideal forum for emerging designers to have their work recognised through a professional platform.
The Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival will be held over four days in May this year, with the John Shaw Neilson exhibition marking the Festival opening on Thursday May 21 at Penola High School. The winning John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art entry will be included in the acquisitive collection of previous winners, displayed at the Penola Coonawarra Visitor Information Centre.
In a new addition to the competition line-up, a Creative Writing Prize – with the theme ‘Imagine’ – organisers hope to attract entries from upper primary and secondary students, but the competition is open to anyone.
For more details and to download the Competition entry forms go to www.artsfestival.com.au/competitions.