Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Benalla gallery offers $50,000 prize

To be launched in 2014, Benalla Nude is a prize to rival the Archibald.

ANGELA TOWNSEND November 21, 2012 5:33am

Benalla Art Gallery's Ivan Durrant is excited about the gallery's new $50,000 Benalla Nude art prize on offer in 2014.

A $50,000 local art prize will be launched by the Benalla Art Gallery in 2014.

Local artist Ivan Durrant said Benalla Nude would bring an estimated 20000 to 50000 visitors to Benalla and, with a $10 entry fee, could raise as much as half a million dollars for the gallery.

‘‘We’ve got the facility to do things here,’’ Mr Durrant said.

‘‘This will guarantee the best artists in Benalla. It should be self-funding and will put money towards reducing rates.

‘‘This is a really unique thing to put us on the map and see us compete with the Archibald.

‘‘The Archibald has magic in its history — our magic is in making the whole town Benalla Nude.’’

Mr Durrant said the gallery expected up to 2000 entries, and an experienced art panel would select the final 50 or so to go on display.

‘‘While these are nude artworks, there will be no porn. This exhibition will complement our nude collection,’’ he said.

‘‘We need to use the facilities we have to the town’s advantage — and do good things.’’

It is anticipated Benalla Nude will be a two-yearly event; Mr Durrant said the committee would ‘‘see how it goes’’.

‘‘We expect it to become an annual event,’’ he said.

Gallery Special Committee chair Margaret Richards said the prize was exciting for Benalla and would attract visitors to the town.

‘‘The main thing is to promote the gallery — I believe it is the best tourist attraction in the city,’’ Cr Richards said.

The $50000 prize money has already been raised through bus trips to various galleries in Australia, from Canberra to Tasmania, as well as the popular music program and special lunches and dinners.

Benalla Nude is an award for a painting with the naked human figure as the subject matter, done in oil, acrylic, watercolour or mixed media.

The award will be presented to the work judged as the best, and must be by an artist who is an Australian citizen or who has been an Australian resident in the 12 months preceding the closing date for entries.

An independent judge or panel of judges will select works to be displayed at Benalla Art Gallery for a period of 10 weeks from Easter 2014.

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