46th Muswellbrook Art Prize offers $71,000 to winning entries in 2019

2018 WINNER OF PAINTING PRIZE: Alec Baker, Ngura (Country) 2017, acrylic on linen, 122 x 152cm.
2018 WINNER OF PAINTING PRIZE: Alec Baker, Ngura (Country) 2017, acrylic on linen, 122 x 152cm.

ENTRIES for the 46th Muswellbrook Art Prize close on Sunday, January 27.

Finalists and adjudicators will be unveiled on February 1, with the prize winners announced on Saturday, March 9.

The prize has come a long way, now offering $71,000 in prizemoney across four categories, including a $50,000 painting prize, $10,000 ceramics prize, $10,000 works on paper prize and $1000 “People’s Choice” prize.

The three main prizes are all acquisitive. 

The prizemoney is provided by Bengalla Mining Company and Muswellbrook Shire Council.

The Muswellbrook Art Prize began in 1958 as the Festival of the Valley Art Prize with the winning painting Death of Voss by Tom Gleghorn becoming the inaugural work in what has grown to become an extensive collection of modern and contemporary Australian painting, works on paper and ceramics from the Post War period of the 20th Century and now the first two decades of the 21st Century.

Previous winners of the prize include such key figures as David Aspden, Sydney Ball, Richard Larter and Fred Williams.

The Upper Hunter region is also well represented with local artists who have won the prize including Peter Atkins, Dale Frank, Lyn Nash and Hanna Kay. 

Previous winner: Swimming (Bruce Spence), oil on canvas, by Nick Ferguson.

Previous winner: Swimming (Bruce Spence), oil on canvas, by Nick Ferguson.

In conjunction with the prize the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre will show Art Tracks II, the second in the exhibition series to accompany the Muswellbrook Art Prize.

Art Tracks II explores the history of the prize, showcasing the works that form the nucleus of the Muswellbrook Shire Art Collection. 

This year’s prize is bolstered by Culture Harvest, an autumn arts celebration supported by the NSW Government’s Regional Cultural Fund.

Events include Yeild, a live performance on Friday, March 8, of painting, music and dance performed by singer, musician and producer Zackari Watt, contemporary dance company Catapult Dance, and painter and mixed media artist Ben Kenning.

On Sunday morning, March 10, the arts centre will host a wrap-up of the Muswellbrook Art Prize with finalists “in conversation”, discussing their art making and their practice as an artist.