How our Local Art Prize came to be

LAP it UP: Local Art Prize from 5 July -18 August

The gallery is very excited about hosting LAP it Up: Local Art Prize which has $5000 in prize monies. How this came about is a great story. Last year we asked Gina Fairfax who is on the board of QAGOMA to be our guest of honour for the 2018 Stanthorpe Art prize and that is the beginning of the story. But this was preceded by many years of hard work and commitment.

As some of the folks in town may know, the Stanthorpe Art Prize previously known as the Stanthorpe Art Festival has been going since 1972. Last year the prize money was $40,000 and next year it will be $50,000. One of the top Art Prizes in Australia.

This did not just happen but over the years was created by a group of passionate Stanthorpians who wanted to bring prominent artists to our community and help build the Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery’s collection. They did this and were very successful in attracting prestigious artists and noted individuals and judges such as Dame Quentin Bryce (guest of honour) and Ron Ramsey (judge).  

The Stanthorpe Art Prize has gained national recognition and status. What is amazing about this – it was mostly done by volunteers. But as a newcomer to town, I can see why this is so. There are so many people who volunteer and support this community in many different ways. I have never experienced anything like this before.

When I asked Gina Fairfax to be our guest of honour, she asked for some information about Stanthorpe and about the Art Prize. I sent a history of the Stanthorpe Art Prize, emphasising how it was mainly run by volunteers and how this was an example of this community and how many people here worked tirelessly to make their town a better place.

So the Art Prize came and went and we all had a cup of tea and took a breath.  We received a phone call from Tim Fairfax asking what our bank details were. As Mr and Mrs Fairfax had purchased an artwork from the Art Prize, we thought that was in order to pay. But a few days later we received $50,000 in the Gallery’s account.

As you can imagine we were shocked, amazed and very pleased. When we contacted Tim Fairfax, he had no caveats on this very generous donation but suggested that it go back to the community to support the arts and help young people be involved in the arts.  

So that is the story of LAP it Up: Local Art Prize. $5000 will go to our local artists in prize monies. It opens on the 5 July and ends on the 18 August. Opening night is on the 5 July at 6pm. Please let us know if you would like to attend. If not that night, come along to see the exhibition.

Mary Findlay,

Gallery Director
Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery