Awards open during flurry of excitement
THERE was a surge of excitement amongst the crowd flocking into St Paul's Anglican Church Hall last Wednesday evening for the official opening of the 2018 Ipswich Art Awards.
With more original works of art on display, artists and arts supporters moved around the hall, discussing and debating the attributes of each piece looking for that one work of art that was just right for purchase.
Contributing artists urgently sought out their art to show friends and family their contribution to the exhibition. Throughout the hall, artists stood beside their art work while having their photo taken for art portfolios.
There was a joyful feel to the room.
The atmosphere was electrifying as the first award was announced.
As each winner stepped forward to receive their award, the crowd demonstrated their congratulations with enormous applause, whistles and loud cheering to the delight of the artist receiving the award.
Artists could enter a maximum of two works across five categories - painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and print-making. In each category, a first and second prize was awarded by this year's judges Flying Arts Alliance Executive Officer Kerryanne Farrer and CEO of Artisan Claire Sourgnes.
It was a tough job with such a diverse range of art work. But a job they did so well.
The first prize winners were: Alan Tulloch in painting; David Wells in drawing; Gary Abkin in sculpture; Nick Hughes for photography and Tamika Grant-Iramu for print making.
Jason McNamara won Best of Show for his photograph of former mayor John Nugent.
Other prizes included an Artist in Residence at Drawing Point Gallery that was won by Kirsten Salisbury, an Artists in Residence in print-making at Arts Alive Ipswich won by Katherine McNamara and the Ipswich Art Awards Packers Prize won by David Wells.
Local artist Michelle Mancy was awarded the Encouragement Award proudly sponsored by Arts Connect Ipswich.
Whilst sales were slightly down compared with last year, there were still many original works sold during the opening. This means that there are lots of great works still for sale during the length of the exhibition. From all reports, they consider this year's exhibition as being of a high quality, with the works remaining affordable.
Watching the excitement and animation on the faces of the winners justifies the work that goes into organising these awards each year for the past 18 years. Let's hope that they continue for another 18 years.