Region to be taken over by creativity when Southern Art and Craft Trail gets underway

Headshot of Kellie Balaam
Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
52 different exhibitions will present a wide range of art and crafts.
Camera Icon52 different exhibitions will present a wide range of art and crafts. Credit: CAROL DUNCAN

Art and craft lovers can finally get among the highly anticipated Southern Art and Craft Trail as more than 50 venues across the region are taken over by creativity for the next two weeks.

The Southern Art and Craft Trail, now in its 19th year, is an opportunity for local artists and galleries to promote work through a diverse range of exhibitions, workshops and visual art experiences.

Last year, COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the event for the first time since its inception, much to the disappointment of the local arts community.

Art South WA chair Merry Robertson said it was a relief that the 2021 event would go ahead.

“We planned it pretty carefully, inviting members to participate once more and it proved members and artists were confident to have a go once again,” she said.

More than 200 local artists will be on display at 52 venues across the Great Southern, and this year there is a huge focus on community engagement.

Exhibitions will be hosted in major venues such as Albany Entertainment Centre and Vancouver Arts Centre, as well as smaller venues like the King River and Kalgan halls and home studios.

The trail features the full array of artistic endeavours — textiles, painting, sculpture, jewellery, printmaking, photography, pottery and wood craft and more.

Artist Merry Robertson at her desk.
Camera IconArtist Merry Robertson at her desk. Credit: Supplied

New community projects to bolster this theme include the Schools on the Art Trail experience which aims to showcase students’ artwork as “emerging artists of the future”.

“We are showing students’ work in retail windows and throughout shops,” Ms Robertson said.

“It’s a great way to collaborate and show students’ work off. Our hope is that each year encourages more schools to work with their communities.”

There will also be an opportunity for visitors to participate in artistic creations to benefit the community.

The public will have the chance to leave a lasting impression through two workshops with artists in Albany and Katanning.

Creating Public Art Installations will see a colourful 3D fantasy flora and fauna art display in the Katanning Town Square using recycled materials.

How to Paint a Mural Workshop with Karlee Bertola at the RCNC Community Garden will offer handy tips for painting a mural.

The Vancouver Arts Centre will feature multiple exhibitions.
Camera IconThe Vancouver Arts Centre will feature multiple exhibitions. Credit: CAROL DUNCAN/Carol Duncan

Also new this year is the Art Trail Exhibition Award sponsored by Regional Development Australia Great Southern.

A public popular vote survey will award an artist or organisation $2000 to boost to their passion.

Ms Robertson said the event gave emerging and current artists a “serious opportunity”.

“We drive tens of thousands of visitors around the region to go and look at these artists, speak to them, buy work, (it’s a) real boost getting to be known and money in the pocket for artists in region,” she said.

A few noteworthy exhibits Ms Robertson wanted to highlight included the Make A Scene group exhibition at the AEC, the Shelly Beach Art Centre and the Albany Outdoor Painters expo at the whaling station.

The Southern Art and Craft Trail runs from September 25 to October 10.


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