It may well have been the largest turnout in the history of Gloucester Gallery's exhibition openings with standing-room only available for the unveiling of the much anticipated Gloucester Locals: Portraits of Faces You May Know competition.
Around 140 people filled the gallery on Thursday evening (February 6) to watch as each portraiture was revealed. After each unmasking, the artist was invited to say a few words about the artwork, joined by the person they had chosen to paint or draw.
When the Gloucester Art Society (GAS) decided to try the inaugural competition idea, inspired by Dungog's Archies, the hope was to attract a few new artists and visitors to the gallery as well as encourage a few new members.
The event attracted more attendees than they had hoped for and they even managed sign up a few new members.
Among the 30 plus entries, there were a few new artists from around the region that submitted works in the competition.
John Standon, one of the oldest painters at the ripe age of 88, saw his work in the Gloucester Gallery for the first time. He was joined by other first timers, Patricia Barry, Vickii Harris and Dianne Erasmus.
First prize was sponsored by Gloucester business owner, Lindy Dupree, who offered $1000 on behalf of World Marketing, Travel and Tours and the Gloucester Book Shop. Not only did she supply the prize money but she also chose the winner.
"There are a lot of artists in this area and this gallery is a great space," Lindy said. "If there's anything I can do to encourage art in the community, I'll get behind it."
After much deliberation, Lindy chose Bev Barbour's drawing of Grahame Stelzer. The second prize of $350 was sponsored by Gloucester School of Arts and was awarded to newcomer, Dianne Erasmus for her painting of Fred Paterson. The junior prize of $100 sponsored by GAS went to Sadbh Renshaw for her self portrait.
GAS member Jean Buettel said the group was very happy overall with number of submissions and the hope is to attract more junior artists next time.