Spring Arts

Beechworth Arts Council launched the first annual Spring Arts Show in the historic Old Stone Hall  in November 2016.

The first Spring Arts group exhibition created a much needed showcase for Indigo and North East Victoria’s most celebrated visual artists.

Spring Arts was the brainchild of Beechworth Arts Council’s then Vice President, Darren John Pope. At the time, Mr Pope said the arts council had launched the yearly exhibition series to celebrate the skills and build community awareness of some of the district’s finest visual artists.

“This inaugural group exhibition offers a broad range of painting, print, sculpture and photographic styles, from the purely abstract through to figurative naive,” said Mr Pope.

The 2016 Spring Arts Show featured works from Bärbel Ullrich, Rose Wedler, Catherine Stewart, Therese Shanley, Nina Machielse Hunt, Judy Hawking Burnett, Inga Hanover, Kay Hampton, Tina Fraser and Chris Dormer.

Spring Arts 2017

In 2017, Spring Arts expanded to include a lively Art Chat, a Children’s Art Exhibition under the Rotunda of Beechworth Town Hall gardens, and a workshop in Abstract painting.

Art under the Rotunda, a children’s art exhibition including artworks from Beechworth’s St Joseph’s, Montessori and Wooragee Primary Schools – Beechworth Town Hall gardens – Spring Arts 2017

In a spirit of generosity and collective creativity, the 2017 Spring Arts Show invited contributions from individuals and organisations alike. Murray Arts responded to call with an Artist’s Open Studio tour, along with North East artists, Nina Machielse Hunt, Therese Shanley and Anita Laurence who all joined the 2017 Spring Arts programme with solo shows.

Spring Arts 2017 also featured a group exhibition titled La Trois at the Beechworth Library and a major open exhibition at Beechworth Town Hall responding to the theme of the personal landscape.

Spring Arts 2018

The 2018 Spring Arts festival continued with a spirit of generosity in a programme that featured a group exhibition by Beechworth Secondary College art students, a photographic exhibition at the Old Stone Hall and an exhibition titled “O for Object” at Beechworth Library.

An innovative addition to the 2018 Spring Arts program was a wearable art project titled Elements of Indigo. For this daring project exploring clothing and cultural identity, entrants were encouraged to respond to the native flora of the region by fashioning a garment for parade at Beechworth Town Hall.

Benalla artist, Maggie Hollins holding her eco-print garment made for the Elements of Indigo wearable art show. Jamie Kronborg photographer
O for Object, group exhibition at Beechworth Library for Spring Arts 2018. Beechworth Arts Council played a major role in installing exhibition facilities in the Library
O for Object (2018) artists – Jan Clements (left), Birgit Schonafinger, Judy Hawking Burnet, Chris Dormer, Linda Fish, Tania Sutton, (front) Janet Sutherland, Darren John Pope

A popular Art Chat also featured in the 2018 Spring Arts programme, this time investigating the notion of the Landscape throughout art history. Along with Beechworth artist Alan Phillips and local historian, Dr Jacqui Durrant, the 2018 Art Chat lineup welcomed Melbourne curator and author, Dr Ruth Pullin to discuss her research into the life of 19th century artist, Eugene von Guerard.

Dr Ruth Pullin, art historian, curator and author of several books on 19th century artist, Eugene von Guerard, was the special guest speaker at the the 2018 ART CHAT (click here)
Dr Ruth Pullin, ART CHAT, Spring Arts 2018

A leading landscape artist of the Romantic tradition, von Guerard travelled through Beechworth in 1862 with German scientist Professor Georg von Neumayer on an expedition to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko.

North-east view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko,
Eugene von Guerard (1863),
Oil on canvas
National Gallery of Australia (click here)

From this infamous journey von Guerard painted one of his more notable landscapes titled, North-east view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko,(1866), and during his stay in Beechworth, von Guerard also sketched a view of Reedy Creek Falls, a lithograph of which formed part of a series reproduced in a popular book at the time.

Reedy Creek Falls, Beechworth, Eugene von Guerard (c.1863),

Spring Arts 2018 also launched the inaugural Spring Bloom flower show, along with a programme of Baroque arias by Opera Scholars Australia graduates titled La Primavera at Beechworth magnificent Christ Church.

La Primavera Opera Scholars make their Spring Arts 2018 debut in a stunning concert of Baroque aria at Christ Church

Spring Arts 2019

Expanding across all artistic genres, Spring Arts 2019 featured a literary programme that included the launch of local poet Frank Prem’s latest book and readings of late nineteenth century writer, Ada Cambridge at Christ Church.  

The 2019 Spring Arts literary programme also featured an inaugural Culture Club talk at Beechworth Library with local historian Dr. Jacqui Durrant discussing her publication, Fire on the Plateau (details here), and a five minute Story Slam challenge at The Empire Hotel

There were also solo exhibitions from local visual artists, Alan Phillips and Jess Weston in the programme and a live music concert at The Burke Museum, featuring Albury raised singer songwriter, Georgie Currie.

For the Spring Arts 2019 festival, Beechworth Library again hosted a group exhibition of 3D visual art and arts council members took to the streets, hanging their artwork in participating shopfronts across town.

As with many arts festivals, the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic sadly suspended all Spring Arts programming. Beechworth Arts Council current President, Darren John Pope said he has every expectation of comparable mixed arts events springing up in the near very future.  

“Umbrella arts events are an essential part of the arts and entertainment eco-system and with so much creativity across the Indigo Hills, its only a matter of time before a similar festival to Spring Arts emerge”, Mr Pope said.

Beechworth Arts Council Membership details (click here)