Founded by six local
artist, and operating since 2002, the Yarra Glen Art Show, now rebranded as the Yarra Glen Arts Show, is a major community biennial art event
for the Yarra Valley.
The Yarra Glen Arts Show promotes the Yarra Valley, and Yarra Glen more specifically, as a friendly and accessible place to visit with an enriched and diverse cultural lifestyle.
The Arts Show has had a successful track record over the past 13 years in substantially growing the connectivity of our community. Through various types of engagement, we are able to tell our story through art. By drawing people together from different backgrounds, greater community cohesion is created.
The Arts Show delivers quality artworks and artisan wares across its exhibits, including painting, photography, sculpture, textiles and metal works, capturing themes from realist to impressionist and contemporary abstract to
traditional landscape. All artworks are on sale during the show.
Judging is done by local well-known artists and one prize is dedicated to the People’s Choice Award, chosen by visitors, all of whom are encouraged to vote for their favourite work.
"Community connection” has been the recurring theme running through every art show, to which the dedicated and passionate committee has added "sustainability” to our planning for 2017.
revitalisation in mind, we have created new artist awards to reflect
the greater diversity of mediums we will now accept at the show. We have also designed a number of new activities such as a local schools’ activity, and an activity designed to encourage visitors to participate in the creation of an actual art work during the two-day event. We hope that these new activities will be fun, create a sense of belonging, and enrich the experience of all visitors to the show.
We have also redesigned our logo to represent the familiar landscape of Yarra Glen: sky, vineyards, valley, and river. The new logo captures the meandering river while hinting at billabongs and wetlands, which for us also represents the story of the event flowing from a small beginning to a larger show in Yarra Glen.
Our 2017 show is sure to be exciting, educational, and fun, with a sense of connectedness to create a cultural experience for all!
Yarra Glen Arts Show Coordinator
The idea for the Yarra Glen Art Show was conceived by a group of friends, who were also all local artists, over a morning coffee at Cheese Freaks (now the Yarra Glen Cafe and Store) back in 2001. The Steels Creek friends - Christine and Chris Mullen, Margaret and John Houston, and Jane and Malcolm Calder -
recognised the need for an event to celebrate the artistic talent of the local and wider Yarra Valley communities, which could also become an additional attraction for tourists to visit Yarra Glen. To get their initiative off the ground, each couple put $100 into a kitty and decided on the name: "The Yarra Glen Grand Easter Art Show".
The show was launched in 2002 and held in a marquee on the front lawn of Cheese Freaks (thanks to the generosity of the then proprietor, Ian Balmain). Before the show opened, artists Noel Nicolson and Veronica Holland created a mural on the southern wall of the outside courtyard, where it remained until early 2016. Due to the need to keep the
art works secure, Kay McRae and Malcolm Calder camped out overnight in the marquee.
What the first art show lacked in formal
organisation it made up for in local support.
Hoogies of Yarra Glen provided farm gates (at no cost) on which the artworks were hung, while Richard Tomlins of Greensborough Steel Fabrications manufactured and donated the supporting legs. (Both gates and legs have provided, most generously, for every art show since). From the proceeds of the first art show $3,000 was raised to donate to Afghan women and children.
Over the next few years, as the team took turns in taking the lead role in
organising the art show, the number of entries grew from the initial 60 to over 200 and the
work-load increased. After two years the show outgrew the marquee at Cheese Freaks and was moved to The Barn at Yering Station, an enclosed space with good security. Here, under the leadership of Christine and Chris Mullen and with a great working relationship with Yering Station, the show expanded in both the number of entries and in the quality of the
When in 2006 the art show’s Easter weekend date clashed with the Yering Farmers Market the show was moved to the newly opened Balgownie Estate. This provided the opportunity to build another great working relationship with a major local winery and the show was held there through to 2009. In that year, after Christine and Chris Mullen moved to Melbourne, the show was
organised by Yve Hart, a textile artist living in Yarra Glen.
In 2010 Morgan Calder of ACME Design and Printing assumed the role of art show
, with the assistance of a committee that included Malcolm Calder as Chair, Robyn Henchel, Heather Smith, Ivan Filsell, and Keith Montell. At this time, with the art show attracting more than 500 entries, the committee moved for it to become incorporated. Also in this year the Balgownie exhibition space was not available so a new venue at Alowyn Gardens, with a large marquee, was secured. Owned by John and Prue Van De Linde, Alowyn Gardens
was an ideal location for the show where it was also held in 2011.
The Yarra Glen Art Show was changed to a biennial event in 2013, when its location was moved to the newly renovated Yarra Glen Memorial Hall, again with Morgan Calder as the coordinator. The Memorial Hall proved to be a very suitable site for the exhibition with good space and lighting for the more than the 500 entries. Accordingly, it was used in 2015, with coordination of the show now under the leadership of Debra Traill with an expanded
Committee including Malcolm Calder, Robyn Henchel, Heather Smith, Ivan Filsell, Karen Fothergill, Liz Lucas, Paul Kelly, and Sharon Rowell.
2015 Yarra Glen Arts Show Committee
The art show has been supported most years by a grant from the Yarra Ranges Council. Most importantly, though, it has been the army of local volunteers that has made the show such a great success year after year. Visitor numbers have reached over 4,000 and the sale of works have enabled donations to local CFA and schools as well as
to children's charities.
Planning for the next Yarra Glen Arts Show, to be held in March 2017, is well underway with a new dedicated committee of committed locals who are all enthusiastic and passionate about the opportunity that the
revitalisation of the show will bring, giving our local artists the opportunity to showcase their creative works for all to enjoy and celebrate.
Debra Traill – Coordinator, Carmela Silvestri– President, Robyn Henchel – Secretariat, Sharon Rowell – Treasurer, Liz Lucas, Raelene Sharp, Peter Williams, Karen Fothergill