Naracoorte Regional Art Gallery open their South Australian Living Artist Festival online – Naracoorte Herald

Faced with the doors closed during a highly-coveted community art competition in April led the Naracoorte Regional Art Gallery team to draw on their talents to remain in the public eye.

The optimists had turned to technology to promote winners and works in their annual IBIS Rising Naracoorte Gallery Art Prize.

The same remedy will be used for the South Australian Living Artist (SALA) Festival which kicks off on Friday, July 31.

Gallery secretary Lesley Barker explained how coronavirus regulations forced art spaces like theirs to suddenly close to the public.

“We felt the effects but equally we felt the people hurting the most would be the artists, and we all needed something positive to look forward to,” Mrs Barker explained.

The artist, who enjoys spinning, weaving and felting and featured in the recent competition, said it was empathy which led the team to host their annual competition online.

“And it was the most amazing hit,” she shared.

“We had fantastic support from local artists…they were pleased to have the support from us.”

The competition went live through Facebook with Mrs Barker and a few judges involved in announcing the section winners.

“We went live at different stages so people couldn’t jump ahead and that made it feel a bit more like a normal opening,” she said.

Importantly, the process enabled entrants to share the footage with family and friends around the world.

“Which is what they did…I couldn’t believe how it all sort of took off.”

While unofficial view numbers unknown, the board were thrilled with the huge amount of comments and likes.

“Being the first time we had done this, there were no great expectations either.”

We felt the effects but equally we felt the people hurting the most would be the artists.

Naracoorte Regional Art Gallery secretary Lesley Barker

Mrs Barker credits the outcome to the artists and “people who came out of the woodwork to assist”.

“It really was just a matter of coordinating it,” she said.

Due to the online success and the gallery unable to cater for a large group during SALA as a result of restrictions, the same format will be used.

“We can’t have a normal opening as we normally have over a hundred people attend,” she said.

However, the public is still encouraged to head to the gallery during normal opening hours to view works from their two exhibitions.

Celebrating Limestone Coast Art – involves 33 adult artists featuring wonderfully inspiring and diverse range of styles, skills, experience and genres – guaranteed to appeal to everyone who visits.

All artists are professionals and live within a 100km radius of Naracoorte, with two hailing from Mount Gambier and an indigenous artist in the mix.

“His work is just mind blowing,” Mrs Barker said.

Artwork includes ceramics, craft, drawing, metal, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking and textiles.

The Local Artists of the Limestone Coast is a competition and exhibition of artwork which aims to celebrate young artists from Reception to Year 4, Years 5 to 7 and secondary school.

These budding artists will showcase drawing, mixed media, painting and photography.

Mrs Barker said winners of the children’s competition are expected to be announced on July 31 with a private donor providing the cash prizes.

She explained how SALA organisers have also requested photos of all the children who place entries to choose winners and will further award the students.

An artist herself, Mrs Barker who enjoys spinning, weaving and felting,

Naracoorte Regional Gallery will open during the SALA Festival, Wednesday to Friday from 10am-4pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am-3pm.

A catalogue with work and prices will soon feature on Facebook and for more details click here.