D’Arcy Doyle art awards grow to be one of the best

9 Jul
Executive director and founder of the event, Earle Hinschen, stands next to the winning landscape painting, Ways of Mapping Sunshine.

Executive director and founder of the event, Earle Hinschen, stands next to the winning landscape painting, Ways of Mapping Sunshine.

By Elly Pugh, Bond University Journalism Student

The D’Arcy Doyle Art Awards, one of the Gold Coast’s leading professional visual art competition, has grown from a pumpkin party into a shining beacon of art  as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.

This year, the Mudgeeraba-hosted awards has extended to the D’Arcy Doyle Art Festival, including over 450 pieces hanging in three venues throughout the town, an outside sculpture gallery, live music and artists in action.

Executive director and founder of the awards Earle Hinschen  said that the Doyle’s have grown from unconventional beginnings to a prestigious competition, being one of the best of its kind in the state.

“It all started with a pumpkin,” said Mr Hinschen. “The community had been divided … so I had decided to pull all these people together and have a party and I called it the Mudgeeraba Mad Pumpkin Party.”

This pumpkin party started a series of events that eventually landed the Mudgeeraba community with some spare cash and willing artists.

“To coincide with this pumpkin party I decided to put out a  pumpkin cookbook. It started selling and thousands of dollars later, we had this money,” he said.

“Shortly after that a group of artists came to me and said ‘can you do something for us?’”

“Now it has grown to be the best show of its type in Queensland, you’ve got to be good to get in.”

The Doyle’s, named in honour of famed landscape artist and Mudgeeraba resident D’Arcy Doyle, allows artists to win one of five awards, with the total prize money now  $17,500.

Doyle was famous for his landscape paintings, thus the main and most acclaimed prize of the event comes from the landscape category.

Other categories include portraits, still life and the recently introduced Junior Art Awards, which encourages budding artists under 18 to display their work.

“We treat them like little adults,” said Mr Henschen. “I’m very pleased with the standard of the work.”

This year the $10 000 landscape prize was awarded to local Gold Coast artist Seabastion Toast for her painting Ways of Mapping Sunshine.

“It always means a lot to me when people can connect with my work, after all it is the main reason I do it,” said Ms Toast.

Her winning painting, and all other entries, can be seen at Mudgeeraba Memorial Hall, the main venue of the festival.

Visitors are also welcome to vote for the people’s choice awards, in both the senior and junior division.

Entrance for all exhibitions is free, with the festival wrapping up in Mudgeeraba on Sunday, July 13.

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