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2022 VISUAL ARTS COMMENTARY


Building on the successes of 2018 and 2020, the biennial Visual Arts in the Valley 2022 was held again over the October long-weekend in Kangaroo Valley, NSW.  It featured multiple visual art prizes and special arts events over four days at a variety of venues across the Valley.  

 

Objectives

 

Our objectives are simple – to assist artists while bringing leading contemporary art from around the nation to Kangaroo Valley and surrounding regional NSW.   

 

Our goal – to continue to grow as a nationally recognised contemporary arts event while retaining local and regional flavour.

 

Prizes of $22,000 were donated by local Valley residents, including the signature Kangaroo Valley Art Prize, Tony White Memorial Prize for a young emerging artist, Salon of Local Artists Prize, plus Highly Commended, Commended, People’s Choice Prize and Packing Room Prize.  

 

Now one of the more valuable suites of contemporary art prizes in Australian contemporary art, over 1200 people visited the Kangaroo Valley Community Hall transformed into a professional art gallery.  Entry fees and commissions were kept low to return as much as possible to artists.  In each of the past three biennales, over 30% of artworks were sold (35% in 2022, $86,000). 



Artistic quality

 

Visual Arts in the Valley grew out of a small town exhibition of local artists – something done in many rural communities across the state and nation.  Entries, attendance and sales were limited. 

 

Starting in 2018, Arts in the Valley (KVAF Inc) made a commitment to raise the standard of art being exhibited, to champion contemporary art and to attract established and emerging artists from the surrounding regions, state and nationally.  It has worked. 

 

Entries are now received from artists from Sydney, Canberra, regional NSW, as well as from Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and all states.  

 

Recent reviewers have characterised the biennial exhibitions as “one of the best local/regional shows” and most recently, Sophie O’Brien, Artistic Director at Bundanon, concluded that the artistic quality of the 2022 exhibition was “better than I have seen in any regional Australian show.”

 

In 2022 a number of well recognised artists were finalists, some with major shows at Sydney Contemporary.  Included were previous winners of the Paddington Art Prize, Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, Omnia Art Prize, World Press Photo Award for Portraits, Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship and several Archibald finalists.  Finalists included represented artists (35% in the Kangaroo Valley Art Prize) from some of the most respected galleries in the country – Olsen, Stella Downer, Australian Galleries, Arthouse, Beaver, Chalk Horse, Jennings Kerr, Anthea Polson, Edwina Corlette, Piermarq+, Scott Livesey, Saint Cloche, James Makin and .M Contemporary.    

 

The future? – Continued engagement with contemporary arts

 

We look forward to continuing to bring leading contemporary art to the Valley and surrounding regions for people to enjoy and to purchase, and we will continue to support artists by selling their works and rewarding the best with significant prizes. 

 

C’est un grand jour pour l’art. 

 

Gary Moore, Visual Arts Director 2017-2022






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