NATIONWIDE entries are now being sought for the Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2016 - one of the most prestigious regional art prizes in Australia.
The Art Prize, now in its 11th year, offers a cash prize of $25,000 and an artist residency on the Coast as its major prize.
The high-profile award is expected to attract entries from some of Australia's best contemporary and emerging artists.
Community Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the Sunshine Coast Art Prize was one of the nation's leading regional art awards. "The Sunshine Coast Art Prize is the preeminent contemporary art award for the region and has become an award of national significance to the arts industry, art collectors and the broader community," Cr McKay said.
"The increase in prize money to $25,000 for the winning artwork will further enhance the national profile of our Art Prize. "Today's announcement confirms this Council's support for the Arts in this region and comes hot on the heels of Council's recent decision to formally recognise the important role of arts and culture on the Sunshine Coast with the endorsement of a Sunshine Coast Arts Advisory Board to provide a strategic approach to grow the sector.
"Establishment of the Sunshine Coast Arts Advisory Board will build the momentum and further grow the region's profile as an arts destination. It will also leverage the partnerships that have already been formed between council, the arts industry, artists, and philanthropists." Division 2 Councillor Tim Dwyer said council was committed to supporting and growing the region's thriving arts and culture industry.
"There's no doubt the Sunshine Coast is a haven for emerging artists, and council's ongoing investment in the Art Prize and Caloundra Regional Gallery provides avenues for growth, cultural tourism and arts development as well as bringing quality artworks to a regional audience," Cr Dwyer said. "In 2015, there were around 400 entries, and we expect the increase in prize money will attract even more this year."
The Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2016 finalists will be showcased in an exhibition held at Caloundra Regional Gallery from August 18 to October 2. The winning artwork will become part of the Sunshine Coast Art Collection. Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2015 winner Robert Fenton said being a finalist in the Sunshine Coast Art Prize was always heartening no matter where you were in your career.
"Winning the Art Prize in 2015 was a massive honour and having my work in such a great collection alongside the names of some great artists is what most artists aim for," Mr Fenton said. The 2016 Sunshine Coast Art Prize offers a prize pool of more than $30,000 in cash and prizes including:
• An acquisitive major prize of $25,000 cash and an artist residency sponsored by Montville Country Cabins
• A non-acquisitive Highly Commended prize of $5000 sponsored by the Proost-De Deyne family
• A non-acquisitive People's Choice prize of $2500 Sunshine Coast Art Prize online entries are now open and will close at 5pm on Friday, April 15. Entry is open to any Australian resident.
For details on the Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2016, including terms and conditions of entry, visit council's gallery website. Council will seek expressions of interest from suitably qualified people for the Sunshine Coast Arts Advisory Board in the next few months.
For more information on the Sunshine Coast Arts Advisory Board visit council's website.