Get out your art supplies

Winners of Upwey Archies for 2022. Pictures: Linda Fullagar

By Tanya Faulkner

Upwey locals are being encouraged to whip out their paint brushes and canvases ahead of an annual art competition.

The Upwey Archies, run by the Upwey Community Group in partnership with Burrinja Cultural Centre, is returning for 2023 with registrations now open to locals.

Leader of the Upwey Community Group’s arts working group Linda Fullagar said this is the eighth year they will be running the exhibition.

“We started in 2016, with around 30 odd portraits for the first exhibition,” she said.

The Upwey Archies was inspired by the Archibald Prize, an Australian award for portrait painting, and wanted to bring the idea to Upwey.

The annual art exhibition displays portraits as created by those in the community, of people who are of significance in their lives or from the Hills community, and then displayed on the windows of the Upwey traders by the main street.

Ms Fullagar said it’s a great way to get the community together.

“We always love encouraging the community to be involved in art, and thought this would be a good way of encouraging locals to give it a go and enter portraits of a person special to them,”

She said the exhibition is a bit of a two-fold, as the main street comes to life with the colourful portraits, and the streets have a real buzz to them with more people out and about, looking in each window and reading about the artists’ portraits.

“People come down and might have a coffee together, good way to bring people together to look at the art,” she said.

Some artists’ use the Upwey Archies to have their artwork displayed for the first time, with others being regular participants in the exhibition.

Over the years the exhibition has grown, with Ms Fullagar saying the first one only saw around 37 portraits, and saw 111 in last years’ exhibition.

“It’s become more and more popular with the artists, and with the community.

“They look forward to this time of year to look at the artwork, and the traders in main street look forward to it as it brings more people into town,” she said.

She said the exhibition is for all skills and ages, with 10 awards being presented at the upcoming exhibition.

“Two of the awards are the community favourite awards, where the community gets to vote on which portrait is their favourite.

“There will be a QR code on the artworks to get through to the voting form and choose their winner,” she said.

This years’ official judge is the 2022 Upwey Archies winner Jasmine Weber, and is expecting some great pieces to come through.

Ms Fullagar said the community group is bringing something different this year, extending the program to include a free portrait workshop in the Belgrave library with Alison May, who won the Upwey Archies a few years ago.

There will also be a Children Talking Art panel at the Belgrave library on Saturday 14th October with some of the community’s previous youth winners.

Artists can now go to Burrinja Cultural Centre between until Saturday 19th august to enter.

The cost is $15 for the open category, $10 for 14 and under.

Pieces will need to be returned to the Upwey Township Hall on Friday 6 4:30pm-6pm October, or 10:30-12 noon on Saturday 7th October.

More information can be found on the official Facebook page