Bundaberg Art Prize returns to brighten CBD – Bundaberg Now – Bundaberg Now


Cr John Learmonth with Bundaberg Art Prize president Phil Oakley, 2019 winner Gabrielle McDonald and sponsor Mike Brennan.

The Bundaberg CBD is set to become a thriving arts hub in November with the return of the Bundaberg Art Prize.

On the back of last year’s successful event, which was held in four different venues across the Bundaberg CBD, attracting over 450 entries from 250 different artists, the event will come back for a second year.

Bundaberg Art Prize president Phil Oakley said organisers were looking forward to another great year.

“The art prize is again offering a $10,000 first prize which is open to all Australian residents, but like last year we expect to draw most of our entries from the local region,” Phil said.

“We will also have $10,000 of additional prize money, including $1000 to the best young emerging artist.”

Last year’s change of format, offering a significant first prize, was well received according to Calliope artist Margaret Worthington.

“I thought the 2019 Bundaberg Art Prize was one of the best collections of exciting and well-crafted work I have seen in regional Queensland,” Margaret said.

While there has been a delay due to COVID-19 restrictions, Phil said the time is right.

“There is a strong desire from both artists and the community to put things behind us and celebrate the arts,” Phil said.

“We feel the November timing is about right and we hope people will be more confident being out and about to attend the event.

“Last year’s Art Prize added much needed vibrancy to the CBD, with many people discovering the event by accident as they walked along Bourbong Street, which showcased Bundaberg as a thriving artistic hub.

“We are still finalising exactly where it will be held this year, but are looking to work with landlords of some of the vacant shops in the CBD.”

Last year’s winner, Bargara local Gabrielle McDonald, said she was pleased to see the Bundaberg Art Prize return.

“I was stunned by my win last year as the organisers had created an art prize equivalent to all the premium art prizes across Australia,” Gabrielle said.

“I’m really excited to see it come back for a second year.”

Council’s portfolio spokesman Cr John Learmonth said he was looking forward to the event.

“Last year’s Bundaberg Art Prize really set the standard as a top quality art prize and really showcased the Bundaberg region and our artists,” he said.

“After COVID-19 restrictions have limited so much this year it will be wonderful to see the Bundaberg CBD full of top quality art.”

One of the unique features of the Bundaberg Art Prize is the way the prize money is funded by small contributions from its thriving Business business community.

“Many sponsors are returning for a second year, but we are still looking to add a number of sponsors who can get involved for as little as $500,” Phil said.

“I would welcome the chance to talk to anyone interested and can be contacted via email: [email protected] or phone on 0438 070 420.”

The Bundaberg Art Prize will be held from 13-22 November across various CBD locations.