The Jury Prize goes digital to support regional artists
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For the past 20 years Port Hedland has recognised the talent of the local artistic community with an annual art award celebration.
The unique site of the Old Courthouse, now Courthouse Gallery+Studio, was originally converted to a community art studio and gallery space by a group of local artists in late 1999.
To commemorate the foundations of the space, local arts hub managers, The Junction Co., have reimagined the award to reach a greater audience. The Jury Art Prize pays homage to the historical location and invites the public to be the jury for the prized people’s choice category of The Jury Art Prize.
“The most exciting development of the new prize,” said gallery curator Elisa Trifunoski, “is that we’re taking the whole exhibition online, and developing a virtual gallery where anyone can ‘walk through’ and experience the exhibition from any location across Western Australia and beyond.”
This is also where the public will be able to cast their vote for their favourite artwork, and give an artist the opportunity to win more than your average people’s choice token prize, with prize monies equal to that of the Judges Award.
The Junction Co. Executive Officer Katie Evans said the new digital additions to the Prize format gave all regional WA artists an opportunity to engage and share their work, which can often be difficult given the size of WA.
“One of the barriers for regional artists, say someone in Albany, is that they an have an amazing artwork, that’s within the parameters of the prize, they say; ‘I’m not going to enter it because it will cost a fortune to send this up to Port Hedland and it might not even get in’.
Katie explained that with the online submission process only the finalists’ work needs to be brought to Port Hedland, removing a significant cost barrier for regional participants.
“We want people to start to value this prize and really encourage artists of all levels to submit work, because it’s an opportunity to be amongst your peers and to be showcased around the world through this technology.”
More than just a collection of photos of the artworks, The Judges Prize digital gallery will be a close-as-possible recreation of the Courthouse Gallery+Studio space, allowing for real curation to take place – and for international audiences to experience that curation of WA works through the digital platform.
The idea also has the potential to be shared and utilised by other regional arts organisations.
“We’re part of the broader regional network, so if it works here we can test it and say “okay, you’ve got a gallery over here, we’ve got a program that’s very easy to use and at a reasonable rate,” Katie said.
Artists working across a range of mediums including painting, photography, sculpture, digital and mixed media are welcome to submit their work in The Jury Art Prize, which will be judged by industry experts, including Erin Coates.
Erin is a visual artist, curator at Fremantle Arts Centre and creative producer working across film, sculptural installation and drawing who along with judging, will also be guest curating the The Jury Art Prize.
Along with Erin two other guest judges will announce the prize winners, except the Jury Prize, this will be announced at the end of the exhibition once the world has voted on their favourite!
The Jury Prize is now open for submission until 21 April. To find out more and submit your own work head over to The Junction Co. website.