By Tania Phillips
Stanthorpe Gallery director Mary Findlay is busy chasing down more walls hanging space with the annual Crisps Youth Art Prize attracting record numbers.
The event, to be held from 24 September to 18 October is now in it’s 30th year and has had the same sponsor for the very beginning.
“Crisps has been sponsoring this event for the whole 30 years it’s quite amazing,” Ms Findlay said.
“They have been with us every year and this year it looks like we are going to have more than 700 works from all of the schools in the districts – that’s from Wallangarra right through to Dalveen – all over including all of the main schools as well.
“It is so big this year we’ve had to actually get extra walls in to hang it – that’s wild.”
The theme this year is Earth, Air, Fire and Water: Creating Art &Documenting Drought, Fire & Covid 19 on the Granite Belt.
“I went to ever single school and talked to the students and the teachers about the theme,” she said.
“What it is, is their response to all of the challenges that our community has had over the past three or four years.
“First of all we had drought, then fires and now we have had Covid 19 and we haven’t had water for all this time and it’s been really really tricky for our community. What I said to the kids was we listen to the news, we listen to everybody else but we never get is their perspective. We wanted to hear their stories through art and they have responded absolutely in an amazing way.
“Some of the stories were quite sad. We were talking about how we were feeling and a little Prep girl put her hand up and she said she was really scared during the fire. But we didn’t leave it on a negative note because it wasn’t about being negative, I said we’re survivors – the city people have had Covid 19 but they haven’t had fire and drought as well and look at us – we’re just doing it and doing it well, getting up and going to school. We’re positive and resilient and getting on with it.”
Ms Findlay admitted she was blown away by both the response from the kids and from sponsors the Crisp family.
“They have had a really tough year financially for business – none of the buses were going,” she said.
“I asked if they were okay for this year, I said I understand it’s been difficult and he (General Manager Dale Crisp) said to me “we’ve been doing it for 29 years I think we can do it for 30”. I asked if he thought about a theme – even though we kind of had the theme and he said “Mary I drive buses and you run an art gallery you make that decision.”
Ms Findlay said she would like to thank the Crisp family as well as all the students, parents and teachers who had made the event such a success this year.
The Crisp Youth Art Prize Awards night will be held on Thursday, 8 October 2020
5:30 – 5.45 pm Kindy – Year 2
5.45- 6 pm Year 3 – Year 6
6pm – 6.15 Year 7 -Year 12