by Louise Shannon
CELEBRATING a wide and talented range of art by young people, combined with a passion for promoting visual arts in the Central Highlands, the Emerald Art Gallery is presenting the Westpac Gems of Youth 2017 Art Awards from 4-7pm tomorrow.
In support and stimulation of visual arts in the region, Emerald Art Gallery Inc president Glenda Henry said it was crucial youth art was recognised, facilitated and encouraged.
Ms Henry said the inaugural youth art awards featured 140 entries from 90 young people aged between eight and 18 and included works on paper, sculpture, pottery, wire work, sketching, photography, multi-media, watercolours and oil art.
She said the awards would boost young people's confidence in their artistic abilities and interests.
Winners across three categories, judged by the Emerald Art Group, will be announced around 6pm at the presentation barbecue, cooked by the Girl Guides, and the free exhibition runs until November 10.
Voting will also be held throughout the day tomorrow for the People's Choice Award.
There will be performances from Denison State School students and music students from 4pm, a laser display from Ben Robertson, and catering by the QCWA.
Ms Henry said she was excited about the exhibition which displayed a "wonderful array of works of a high standard”.
"We're just getting such a good response because people are passionate about promoting youth activities,” she said.
She encouraged families to join the Emerald Gallery memberships to help fund future activities.
"We need to promote culture in the Central Highlands. It's available and we need to promote it. The demand is there, but so many people think you have to go to a city to see an art gallery, and we need to make these opportunities available here.”
"The performing arts and visual arts both need more promotion locally. It's important the talents of young people are recognised and nurtured.”
Ms Henry said 25 Emerald State High School students had helped curate the exhibition and install the works.
"It was a learning exercise for them.”
The Emerald Art Gallery is keen to engage Central Highlands youth artists on an annual basis and is hoping the awards set a precedent for future collaborations.
Throughout the year, 14 schools from the region have taken students on excursions to the gallery,
As part of the gallery's celebrations, an afternoon tea to support the Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women's Network will be held next Friday, October 20 at the art gallery from 3pm-5pm with catering by students from Emerald State High School.
Emerald Art Gallery showcases exhibitions from local, state and national artists and is in the Central Highlands Regional Council office building at the corner of Egerton and Borilla Streets, Emerald. It opens 9am to 5pm weekdays, 10am to 2pm Saturdays, and is closed Sunday.