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Hard task for selectors picking affordable art

Hard task for selectors picking best of affordable art

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Selectors Jo Hughes (left) and Lynne Sandri discuss art works for inclusion in the New Zealand Affordable Arts Show.

June 25, 2007

Hard task for selectors picking best of affordable art

Selectors have had a hard task choosing from the 960 artists nationwide who submitted works for the 2007 New Zealand Affordable Art Show, the popular showcase of art priced for the pockets of ordinary New Zealanders.

A team of selectors, each with their own individual opinions on what makes good but affordable art recently convened to examine the artists’ submissions. They have selected 833 artists whose works they consider the best for exhibition at the TSB Arena in Wellington from August 2-5.

“This year we have reduced the number of artworks each artist can submit from five to three. In doing this, we have found that the quality of the work has improved markedly,” New Zealand Affordable Arts Trust executive director Carla Russell said.

“However, the artworks remain as affordable as ever. The selectors found it a difficult task to decide who must miss out on being able to exhibit but it is important that the show’s high standards are maintained by choosing only the best.”

Artworks are priced from as little as $100 to a maximum of $5000 at the show which is in its fourth year. Last year’s three-day event attracted 6700 visitors and 1233 artworks were sold with artists’ earnings totalling $542,000.

The New Zealand Affordable Art Show has become a feature event of the nation’s arts calendar, being held in the arts capital, Wellington. In its short existence, the show has helped launch many careers from both islands and from further afield in the Chatham Islands.

Name artists contribute to the show as well as little known artists hoping for a break. Ms Russell said about 65% of this year’s artists are new.

Selectors Lynne Sandri, Jo Hughes, Glenn Toms, Isobel Mebus, Eva Yocum and Scott Roberts had the task of assessing and selecting artworks for this year’s show. They are only too aware that, when it comes to art, most people take the attitude, “I know what I like when I see it.”

That’s why the trust is careful to include among its selectors some who would not normally be considered experts on art, Ms Russell said.

The selectors:

* Lynne Sandri, convenor of the selection team, is an established artist encouraging others to achieve success.

* Jo Hughes, a former chair of the trust, is an avid art enthusiast whose value to the selection team lies in her appreciation of art that appeals to everyone.

* Glenn Toms, manager of Gordon Harris art and graphic store in Wellington, has a focus on quality of product.

* Isobel Mebus is an artist from Masterton with an eye for detail and composition.

* Eva Yocum has a wide focus after many years as a curator in art galleries, museums and art schools worldwide, including London and New York.

* Scott Roberts, from Virginia, United States, provides an outsider’s view. An art student working in New Zealand as part of an internship organised by the AustraLearn organisation, he is spending seven weeks with the trust gaining experience in curating, dealing with artists and behind-the-scenes administration.


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