The purpose of this letter is to thank your newspaper and the local communities of Maclean, Yamba, Gulmarrad, Grafton, Iluka, and all parts in-between, for the wonderful way they have supported the Lower Clarence Arts and Craft Association’s Jubilee (50th) consecutive Art and Crafts Exhibition.
It was held at Gulmarrad School on the Brooms Head Road over Friday, Saturday and Sunday 3-5 July in wonderful weather. Nearly 1500 people visited, quite apart from volunteers and stallholders and children. There were over a thousand articles of art craft and quilting competing for more than $13,000 in prize money. It is an open competition, so there were entries from all over Australia in nine separate art and craft categories, but by far the majority of the work entered came from the busy fingers and creative brains of our local, and extremely talented, artisans and artists. Our independent judges were very complimentary of the high quality of the works and as an organisation we were just bursting with pride that a small community like ours could attain such high standards across the board.
We have to also thank Clarence Valley Council as our chief sponsor, not only for its continuing financial support, but for its commitment to our arts and crafts in other important ways. The Mayor – as is his custom – made himself available to come out in freezing weather on Thursday to our Opening Night. Not only did he open the Exhibition, but, with the assistance of Jude McBean, the Director of the Regional Gallery in Grafton, he chose and announced an acquisition to the Gallery’s Lower Clarence Collection from the Fine Art, Sculpture, Photography and Woodwork works entered. That work was a fine painting entitled “Waiting- Grafton Bridge”, by local Curt Edwards, which captured the old bridge in an unusual and moving way. The same work won the Jubilee Open Art prize, worth $2000, separately judged by John Millington, the Fine Arts and Sculpture judge. Many congratulations to Curt. All the competition results are available from Ferry Park and our website: www.ferrypark.org
This was the first time the Exhibition had conducted a Family Day, on the Saturday. We had a great turnout of young families and grandparents. There was a jumping castle, face painting, hoop-la and art activities conducted by local art teacher Rhondella Hyde. Yamba Community Radio, TLC, broadcast from the site all day, the Maclean District Pipe Band came out and played for us, we had market stalls, viewers choice competitions and a generally festive atmosphere. Youth prizes were awarded at a special kids ceremony, thanks to our long-term youth sponsor, Key Employment.
At the same time the local miniatures group put together a fascinating display in the Fine Art rooms, the Embroidery Room hosted a wonderful Vintage Clothing of the Sixties display, the jewellery section offered make-a-bracelet workshops for kids, the spinners and weavers demonstrated their craft all day each day, the woodworkers put on some fine demonstrations and the Patchworkers and Quilters offered two quilt turning sessions each day, telling the story in the quilts made by Wilga Bolton of her thirty five years of amazing quilt making.
Gulmarrad School as ever made a fine location for our Exhibition. People just love wandering from room to room to look and participate, and the Gulmarrad P&C did their usual great job catering to the hungry and thirsty, with lots of pleasant seating in the winter sunshine.
The local media have been very effective in assisting us to publicise our event and we are sure they can share some of the credit for our excellent turnout. Many local businesses are very generous in their sponsorship too. Their continuing support ensures we can keep on providing bigger and better displays, competitions, and activities. You can check them out on our website
The Lower Clarence Arts and Crafts Association is a totally voluntary non-profit organisation and we depend for our existence and our strength on the wonderful people of the Clarence Valley. Yet again you have not let us down. Thank you all so much.
Jenny Thomas, President