“We’ve had over 200 entries,” said registrar Maggie Golightly. “It’s going to be the best year ever.”
And for Maggie, who has watched the event grow from its humble beginnings with just 40 entries, there is even more cause for celebration this year.
“Although it’s the sixth year, it feels like the first,” she said, “because for the first time we have stepped out from the Lions Club and are running it ourselves.
“Lions were always there as our mentor until when we decided we could leave the nest – there are still Lions Club members on the committee and they are a major sponsor, but this year we have had to learn the ropes ourselves.”
This year for the first time entries have come in electronically, a process that has made Maggie’s job as registrar far more engaging.
“Every morning I open up the computer and in come a flood of registrations, with all the statements artists have put in with their works.
“I’m getting a sense of how they’ve embodied the theme, ‘Seeds of Change’, how they’re looking at their environment – I can feel the soul of the exhibition.”
The committee has also been delighted with the level of support from the community.
“Now we’re going and doing our own banking at the Summerland Credit Union,” said Maggie, “and the girls are so excited, putting posters up in the window.
“We’ve done the hard yards, now people know what we’re about, we feel very supported.”
A new addition this year is a silent auction, with six artists contributing a work for a new space, where people can come and put in their bid for the work of their choice.
Frank Mills will be launching his new book of rhymes and pictures for children, and there will also be his ever-popular, historic-talk art demonstration classes every day, as well as music to enjoy and the café to hang out and chat.
And despite the economic downturn, sponsorship has been particularly generous this year, with major sponsors, besides Lions, being North Coast TAFE, Peppers Salt Resort & Spa, Byron Shire News, Byron Shire Echo, Byron Shire Council and Ocean Shores Community Association, as well as individual sponsors Rene Thalman, Mark and Lisa Russell, Debbie Stewart, Matthew Denehy, Peter Smith, and Peter and Chyrelle Abbott.
Opening night for the Expo is Friday September 18 at 7pm at the Ocean Shores Community Centre, with everyone warmly invited to come along, as well as at any time over the weekend between 10am and 4pm.
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