Hastings Valley Fine Art

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Kim Madden and Brian Barker from the Hastings Valley Fine Art Association  share their passion for art and promoting  our local artistic community. The association has some exciting exhibitions taking place over the next few months …

Kim Madden I’m one of two Vice Presidents of HVFAA. I’m also editor of our monthly newsletter, Fine Print. Art for me is an unexpected passion, as my natural inclination has been to write – but the process of painting is addictive and surprisingly cerebral, as well as being visual and creative. The art world on the Mid North Coast is a very fine place to be, and HVFAA is a wonderful group of artists who like nothing better than to get together and paint and talk about art.

Brian Barker: This is my sixth year as President. It has given me great pleasure to be in this role, as I enjoy working with community minded people and the art association is a worthwhile activity for such a great group of artists.

I believe in the role of President I have helped advance the direction of the association; I was instrumental in organising our Summer Showcase and The Slice of Haven Exhibition. One of my aims is to get us a permanent home, like a number of other art groups on the North Coast. My wife Rita and I joined the association ten years ago.

What exactly is the Hastings Valley Fine Art Association?

Brian The Hastings Valley Fine Art Association was formed over 25 years ago. It’s a group of people who are passionate about encouraging and supporting artists, by providing activities and tuition in all mediums which are available to everyone − regardless of age or level of ability.

We help artists develop their skills and provide opportunities to show and sell their work, by organising several exhibitions each year.

We have approximately 150 members.There’s a mixture of artists: some who are just learning and others who are professional and hold their own exhibitions and offer tuition.

Please explain the Hastings Art Trail – what galleries does it represent?

Brian The Hastings Art Trail was formed by a small group of people to mirror other art trails located in cities and regional areas across Australia. We believe this is the first formed in the Hastings and have been in existence for at least four years. There are presently 14 galleries that make up the art trail, from Beechwood, Gum Scrub, Wauchope, Port Macquarie, Bonny Hills, Laurieton and ending or beginning at Kendall, depending which way you would like to travel.

The work displayed in the galleries covers mosaics, abstract, realism, impressionist, land and seascapes in all mediums, and the art available is for sale at a reasonable price.

Why has the Hastings Art Trail been brought under the banner of the HVFAA?

Brian The art trail was merged under the auspices of the HVFAA to make it more cost effective and broaden the appeal of both groups, as all art trail members are also members of the association.

The art trail has always been available to anybody to join, but not every member wanted to make their home a gallery, for various reasons. Rather than have separate activities, we will now offer members of the public the opportunity not only to visit our art exhibitions, but to travel the art trail at the same time.

How can members of the public buy the artworks produced by members of the association? 

Kim The best places to enjoy or buy our paintings are at one of our three annual exhibitions. The Spirit of the Camden Haven Art Exhibition is held at the Laurieton United Services Club in May to coincide with the Slice of Haven Food and Wine Festival and the Camden Haven Music Festival. There is a prize for the painting which best reflects the spirit of the Camden Haven.

Last month we had an exhibition in Port Macquarie at the Historic Court House, called Drawn Hung and Courted. Despite the rain and the football grand final, the exhibition was a great success, and we have already booked the courthouse for next year.

We will soon have a stand at the monthly Foreshore Market in Port Macquarie. This will primarily be the work of Art Trail artists.

The HVFAA holds its Summer Showcase annually. What is this event all about?

Kim By far our largest exhibition is our annual Summer Showcase Exhibition. This year it is being held from Dec 29 – 5 January at Laurieton United Services Club, 10 – 6pm daily.

There is usually around $4,000 in prize money, generously donated by our local sponsors – Laurieton United Services Club, Essential Energy, Potts, Davis Duncombe Financial Planning, Café Buzz, Mystic Blue Gifts & Framing, Port City Realty, Port Macquarie Art Supplies & Framing, Judy’s Salon Secrets.

This year there will be displays of artwork jewellery by Vanessa Newell and bold mosaics by Vicki Compton and Francesca O’Donnell.

We will have an opening night cocktail party Dec 28 (RSVP Rita 6586 3236 by Dec 9) to announce prize winners and launch the exhibition. Members of the public are most welcome to attend.

The association will also be holding the Mid North Coast Open Art Prize again this year?

Kim This is the second year the Summer Showcase Exhibition incorporates the Mid North Coast Open Art Prize. This segment is designed to encourage and showcase regional artists − so entry is limited to artists living between roughly Coffs Harbour and Foster/Great Lakes/Taree. The winner’s prize is $1,000.

Local artists are encouraged to enter, entries close Dec 9 and the entry form can be downloaded from our website: www.hastingsvalleyart.net (enquiries Rita 6586 3236).

What other activities do association members take part in regularly?

Kim We have Life Drawing at Bonny Hills each month and regular workshops and tutorials conducted by the best artists in the particular medium. We pack our brushes and paint away outdoors for a week − this year it was Seal Rocks … the year before, the Flinders Ranges.

We also run a mixed media class each month led by our own artists and a group led by Wauchope artist Elsa Toms, which paints outdoors at various locations around the region; I’ve just started to do this, and I must say painting outdoors is quite a challenge compared with the studio − and that’s before the stories of snakes and rampaging bulls! We also do the occasional day trip away.

Last year we hired a bus and went off to the Newcastle Regional Gallery to see the Hans Heyson Exhibition.

Where can people go to find out more information about the HVFAA?

Kim If you were thinking about joining or would like more information, visit the website at: www.hastingsvalleyart.net                                                    or pick up a brochure from the Information Centre, Mystic Blue or the Framers.

You can also drop in on the Wednesday Group, which meets at St Peter the Fisherman Hall in Laurieton between 9am – 2pm.

Alternatively, come to a monthly meeting, which rotates between Port, Wauchope and Laurieton, or talk to our Secretary Janet Bourke: 6582 0421.

Thanks Brian and Kim.

Interview by Jo Atkins.

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