14 March 2024

Dates set for Cooktown's year of visual art excellence

| Cape York Weekly
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The flagship exhibition of the Cooktown School of Art Society, the Annual Art Award, will be held for the 45th time from 13-29 June, 2024. Photo: Supplied.

Artists from around the region will have their work showcased when the Cooktown School of Art Society (CSAS) and Elizabeth Guzsely Gallery unveil the town’s premier visual arts event in June 2024.

The Annual Art Award, which is Cooktown’s flagship exhibition, will be held for the 45th time from 13-29 June, with a record number of works tipped to hang and impress gallery visitors.

CSAS president and secretary Jane Dennis told Cape York Weekly the group was adopting a “fresh new approach” for its 2024 schedule of exhibitions.

“Nestled in the heart of the Cooktown main street, it is vital that we grow a strong cultural and art scene,” she explained.

“We are aiming to showcase artists from the north and offering a money award for encouragement.

“North of Cairns, there is very little opportunity for artists to have a permanent space representing their work.

“The group’s core membership was wanting, so it needed a fresh new approach.”

Ms Dennis said she believed the growth of the group had a flow-on impact on the greater community.

“I have a strong belief that self-expression is the source of our sanity, so, last year, we focused on creating a safe and creative space through workshops, with life drawing, portraiture and even a mural on the RSL fire wall, which is still growing,” she said.

“This year, we return to the events.”

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Ms Dennis said the Annual Art Award, through humble beginnings with Elizabeth Guzsely, proved it only required a paint brush and some paper to get the exhibition ball rolling.

“The fact that this exhibition continues today strongly indicates the determination of artists who wish to share their voice and knowledge,” she said.

“This exhibition focuses on the beauty and the character of the north.”

The other high-profile local exhibition is The Archies, the annual local portrait award scheduled to run from 1-20 October this year.

“This was my favourite event, as all walks of life arrived,” Ms Dennis reflected.

“It was like we had a night market brimming with social connection.”

The other events on the 2024 exhibition calendar are RAW (20 April-3 May), the Muddies Youth Exhibition (17 July-1 August) and The Odies, which will be a celebration of all things pet portrait, in September.

For more information, email [email protected].

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