River of Art flows through South Coast

TALENT: The six talented artists behind Art Studio 6 will host an open studio at Surf Beach on September 19-20 and 26-27. They are pictured in closer, pre-COVID times.
TALENT: The six talented artists behind Art Studio 6 will host an open studio at Surf Beach on September 19-20 and 26-27. They are pictured in closer, pre-COVID times.

The River of Art Festival begins today, taking hold of the Eurobodalla Shire, from Durras to Tilba, until September 27.

Residents and visitors can watch as artists transform blank walls into colourful worlds at Batemans Bay, Moruya, Narooma and Tilba Tilba. Art lovers can discover the talents within our shire at open studios, art on parade and, virtually, on the festival's revamped website.

Art prize

River of Art, the annual celebration of the South Coast's creative arts, kicks off on today to splash Spring colour and renewal from Durras to Bermagui.

Challenged but not defeated by COVID-19, this year's festival runs from Friday, September 18 to Sunday, September 27, and still features many of the favourite highlights. "Kicking off the festival this afternoon will be the announcement of this year's River of Art Prize," festival co-chair Di Jay said. "While we have to abide by the COVID restrictions, we're still able to have a small ceremony to announce the winner of our art prize which always attracts a fantastic range of entries. This year is no different." Those able to attend are by invitation only.

WINNER: Janet Jones and her painting "Autumn Rosehips" won the 2019 River of Art Festival art prize.

WINNER: Janet Jones and her painting "Autumn Rosehips" won the 2019 River of Art Festival art prize.

Official opening

The festival's official opening will be held at the Basil Seller Exhibition Centre in Moruya later in the day. COVID restrictions means those able to attend are by invitation only.

"Even though we've had to keep the number to just 20 for the opening, what's fantastic is that we're been able to hold the festival," co-chair Vicki Lascelles said. "If ever there was a time for a festival of arts, this is it. Our region has been so badly affected this year by the devastating fires, then floods and now a pandemic. We all need this celebration. That's why our theme this year is resilience and renewal."

WELCOME: River of Art festival co-chair Di Jay says the COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges however it has allowed opportunities for the public to discover art in new ways.

WELCOME: River of Art festival co-chair Di Jay says the COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges however it has allowed opportunities for the public to discover art in new ways.

Revive murals

A highlights of this year's festival includes a brand new event, REVIVE. Six murals, depicting the festival's theme will be painted over the course of the festival in Batemans Bay, Moruya, Narooma and Tilba Tilba.

"People will be able to watch the murals emerge from the blank walls and artists' paintbrushes," Ms Jay said. "And we'll be filming them so you can follow their progress on our website."

POSITIVE ENERGY: Happy Decay (Bjarni Wark) paints beside the Moruya River during the 2019 festival. This year, the artist will paint a mural in Batemans Bay on the corner of North and Perry Streets.

POSITIVE ENERGY: Happy Decay (Bjarni Wark) paints beside the Moruya River during the 2019 festival. This year, the artist will paint a mural in Batemans Bay on the corner of North and Perry Streets.

Open studios

A longstanding favourite of the festival, Open Studios, will be a top attraction.

There will be a total of 18 galleries and studios from Batehaven to Bermagui open to visitors.

Art on Parade

Art on Parade is another very popular feature with shops providing the venues to show off the art from our region.

Twenty shops up and down the coast are involved in this year's event offering another way to discover the Eurobodalla Shire's creative side. A number of art exhibitions featuring fabrics and ceramics through to photographs will also be open over the festival. "To help people create their own festival art trail, our website has been redesigned making it easy to spot favourites among the Open Studios, exhibitions and Art on Parade and add them to the 'must' list," Ms Lascelles said. The full program can be found on www.riverofart.com.au .

This story River of Art flows through South Coast first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.

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