Caloundra Regional Gallery: Forty Fabulous Finalists

Image source: Contributed

Forty of the region’s top visual artists are vying for a major prize pool and the chance to join the Sunshine Coast Art Collection as part of Local Contemporary Art Prize 2024: reflections on here and now. Jodie Cameron previews the high-calibre collection of finalists on display at Caloundra Regional Gallery.

Art can help us understand our history, our culture, our lives, and the experience of others. Visual art has a distinct style and is a fundamental component of the human experience, often reflecting the world and the time in which we live.

Now in its tenth year, Caloundra Regional Gallery, in partnership with the Friends of the Regional Gallery, have announced the finalists from across the Sunshine Coast regions, including two-dimensional and three-dimensional works across all mediums.

The annual art prize, originally known as Local Artist – Local Content, has been renamed in 2024 to Local Contemporary Art Prize: reflections on here and now to embody the artists living and working on the Sunshine Coast and ultimately, attract a wider calibre of artists.

Sunshine Coast Art Collection Curator, Nina Shadforth says local art prizes create a platform for the, finalists to connect with their own tribe and audiences.

“It not only raises the profile of local talent in the region, it provides an opportunity for local talent to be shown in a regional gallery setting, giving artists an outlet to sell their artwork while attracting audiences to local art, particularly visitors to the region,” she said.

The finalists’ work features a variety of genres and media – from abstraction, landscape, portraiture and still life through to a range of media such as photography, digital stills, drawing, painting, relief prints and watercolours – each offering a unique perspective; a fleeting moment in time; a homage to heritage or a demand for social change.

Over the years, the level of engagement through local business sponsorship and the prize value have grown, as has the number of entries. And for the past three years, the prize has evolved to become an acquisitive artprize, meaning the winning work will be acquired into the Sunshine Coast Art Collection — a growing collection of artworks developed to encourage enjoyment and awareness of the visual arts.

“Giving artists the opportunity to join the ranks of high profile contemporary artists within the holdings of a public collection is a priceless part of the Local Contemporary Art Prize,” Nina adds.

“By growing and sharing the art collection, the Sunshine Coast is developing an enduring cultural asset that will be enjoyed by generations to come.”

Curated from over 280 entries, these compelling finalists works represent various formats of artistic expression.

Looking deeper, there is more than meets the eye; they evoke emotion through an expression of skill and imagination that invites the viewer to challenge their way of thinking while absorbing their surroundings.

Local artist, designer and 2024 Finalist, Nicole Voevodin-Cash says the chances of being selected as a finalist in a local art prize are like winning lotto and she is so grateful to be a piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is today’s Sunshine Coast mosaic of art makers.

Fellow Finalist Melissa Stannard, a First Nations jewellery and small sculpture artist, said sharing her art with local audiences was like sharing a narrative that evoked emotions and memories of childlike curiosity.

Meanwhile, Sunshine Coast local Blair McNamara’s artwork is a chronology of changes occurring along the coastal plain since the 1970. He says the region has grown beyond the ‘Big Pineapple’ agricultural vibe it was once famous for, so being a finalist in the Local Contemporary Art Prize is like finding a carpark when the surf is pumping.

With a total prize pool of $17,000 up for grabs, the stakes are high!

Award categories include Best in Show Acquisitive Award, a $10,000 prize; 2D and 3D Excellence Awards offering $2,500 each to the winners; and the popular People’s Choice Award with a cash prize of $2,000.

The public programs offer a suite of events and activities to highlight the amazing local talent in our region and engage the community with a series of children’s activities; meet and greet style talks, including Meet the Finalists; and  practical workshops like the Paint Out at Bankfoot House in Beerwah.

At the time of going to print, the winners have not yet been announced which means there’s still time to view the finalists and winners up close and vote for your favourite artwork in the exhibition as part of the People’s Choice Award — which will be announced on Saturday, 27 April.

The exhibition runs from Friday 22 March to Sunday 5 May 2024.

About the Author /

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Jodie is a city-turned-country-turned-coastal chick. With a degree in Journalism & PR and a passion for pulling together events with flair. Her 15+ years’ experience is diverse (including launching a macadamia nut farm)! In her spare time, she’s beachside with her two tiny treasures and furry love Staffy x Red Cattle dog, Rudi.

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