Arts & Culture


JADA 2020 Opening online with Guest Host Rove McManus

The opening of the biennial Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award will be held online for 2020. This won’t put a dampener on the celebrations which are usually a gala event at the Gallery. Would-be guests are being encouraged to gather safely in family and friend groups and mark the occasion at home.

The event will be hosted by Australian media personality Rove McManus along with Gallery Director, Niomi Sands on 2 October at 6:00pm aest.

Sands said “when trying to think of the perfect host for our event; someone who has a passion for drawing, we couldn’t think of a better person than Rove McManus. We loved the Live Life Drawing class he hosted on SBS earlier this year and when we discovered he has studied a fine art degree we were sold. We are so excited that he has agreed to share his passion for art and drawing with our regional audience and hope his popularity will encourage new converts to try their hand at mark making.”

2020 Judge, Peter McKay will announce the winner of the $35,000 acquisitive prize live during the event. Peter is the Curatorial Manager of Australian Art at Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art. In an essay written for the 2020 Exhibition Catalogue, Arts Writer and Critic, Dr Andrew Frost writes ” The 2020 selection, and winner chosen by curator Peter McKay is an example of both the breadth and quality of work produced by Australian artists.” Sands said “Sometimes we don’t think of drawing as a practice in itself, rather as a way to work out ideas as an artist, but it is an amazing part of any arts practice – it’s fundamental. Drawing is one of the most accessible ways of creating art.”

People can register to attend the JADA opening via Eventbrite. A link to the Live Opening on Zoom will be published in the week prior to the event. The JADA Exhibition will be able to be viewed online at and in person at the Gallery, 148 Fitzroy Street, Grafton, from Saturday 3 October. The JADA catalogue will be available online and at the Grafton Regional Gallery from 3 October.


History and background of the JADA:

The Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award (JADA) has been the means by which the Grafton Regional Gallery has gathered a unique and impressive collection of contemporary Australian drawing. Since the establishment of the drawing acquisition prize in 1988 there has been over one hundred works acquired into the collection from leading, established and emerging artists.

In 1988 the Jacaranda Art Exhibition Prize was presented for the first time by the Grafton Regional Gallery with the support of the Jacaranda Art Society, as a specialised acquisitive Australian drawing prize. The inaugural Director of the Gallery, Julian Faigen, made the decision to change the dynamics of the Jacaranda Society Art Prize from a various medium open prize with four sections to a specific award for drawing.

This decision recognised the need for regional galleries to specialise in their collections to allow for the development of identity, to reflect regional and historical difference, to encourage diversity and to reduce competition with other public institutions.

In 1994 the Jacaranda Art Society exhibition became the Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award and formed into the structure it still holds today; a biennial award with entries selected by a panel of art professional for exhibition from which the judge selects the acquisitive first prize and further acquisitions.

The Friends of the Gallery became the sole sponsors of a $5,000 first prize in 1998 with the gallery JADA fund allowing the $5,000 of further acquisitions of the award. Since then total prize money has increased with the 2020 prize increased to $35,000.