MESAC Exhibition Raises Environmental Awareness
With our beautiful coast line being the inspiration for so many great artworks, it was perhaps a natural move for the Marine Education Science and Community Project (MESAC) to seek the assistance of local artists to help raise awareness of our marine environment.
Being based at Rickett’s Point on Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay, MESAC is at the centre of an area that inspired impressionists such as Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and Charles Conder to create some of our finest art treasures. The coastal areas around Beaumaris, Mentone and Sandringham continue to draw local artists and, with its focus on the marine environment, MESAC stayed with this theme for its inaugural Marine Art Exhibition held at the Beaumaris Yacht Club over the weekend of 20th & 21st February.
The event drew over 100 artworks from around 50 artists. Ray Lewis, exhibition co-ordinator and president of MESAC, said “It was great to get all the local artists together. They were all excited about the exhibition and had a great time together setting up the event. We had around 60 people at the artist’s soiree on the set up night and 300 or more people viewed the exhibition over the weekend”.
Entries were open to professional and non-professional artists with the main requirement being a marine or beach theme. The artworks were displayed on the artist own easels. Artists, Jeff Gilmour and Karen Hopkins held free art classes on the beach which added to the relaxed atmosphere and enhanced the exhibitions marine focus. In keeping with the community spirit, prizes were decided by exhibition attendees.
The organisers encouraged guests to vote for artworks that they simply enjoyed viewing rather than being overly focussed on technical merit or artistic reputation. The format worked well in creating a relaxed ”meet and greet” atmosphere for artists while highlighting MESAC’s project to develop a multi-user facility to foster sailing, diving, marine science and associated community interests. The People’s Choice awards went to Annee Kelly for her plein-air painted beach scene, Jeff Gilmour for his line and watercolour painting ‘Weedy Sea Dragon’ and Nick Georgiadis for his magnificent lead glass window, ‘The Galleon’.
With the success of the inaugural exhibition, and the enthusiastic support of the artists and local community, MESAC’s Marine Exhibition is set to become an annual event.