HERVEY BAY ART SOCIETY 50 YEAR ANNIVERSARY 1971 -2021.
50 Years of promoting the arts to the local community of Hervey Bay.
It started with a small group of like minded artist which meet weekly at the CWA hall on Torquay Road, Pialba to paint and to exchange ideas. At one of those meetings on the 19th February 1971 a motion was passed to formally establish the Hervey Bay Art Society. Mrs. Laurel Hoskings became the first president and well establish local artist Mrs. Maureen Campbell the art tutor of the Society. The newly formed Art Society meet regularly in the small CWA hall, but the members embarked on a mission to raise funds for the purchase of a property that would become their permanent home. The best way to raise money would be to organise exhibitions. After 10 years of exhibitions and fund raising the Art Society raised $ 40.000 and approached the State Government for a dollar for dollar contribution towards the purchase of building, unfortunately they were not successful but they had found an old bakery building in Sandy Street, Urangan which suited their needs. The committee of the Society decided to establish an annual art exhibition, which should include artist from outside of Hervey Bay.
The first Annual Competitive Art Exhibition was held on the 28th July to the 1st August 1983 at the Hervey Bay Hall and it was a big success the committee decided to make the event a permanent fixture . In 1984 it became a bigger and more organised art competition with sponsorships of $ 1500 from local businesses and a larger number of participating artists. The Minister for Education and the Member for Isis Lin Powell officially opened the exhibition and congratulated all the people involved in organising the event and stated only a few cities in Queensland of comparable size would be able to mount an exhibition of such quality and high standard.
Over the years the annual competitive art exhibition became a permanent fixture on the Hervey Bay culture calendar. In those early days the venue changed from Hervey Bay Hall, Urangan Progress Hall, Memorial Hall and then to the Sailing Club. A change in government encouraged the Society to lodge another application for funding and this time they were successful. The old Bakery been purchased and the members held their first meeting on the 18th of February 1993 in the new premises. More fund raising was needed to meet the cost of refurbishing the building. The yearly competitive art exhibition changed venues once again as the new premises where not big enough to hold the event. In June 1995, 30 members attended what was called the ‘Bakery Wake’, a party to celebrate the changing of the old bakery into the new art gallery and workshop area which was named ‘Gallery 5’.By then membership had risen to over 100 and Gallery 5 became the largest art gallery in Hervey Bay. Some of those early members namely Ligita Sternberg, Kaye Higginson and Min Vary are still involved in the day to day activities of the society and we are very proud of them what they achieved in those early days.
The Hervey Bay Council in 1995 recognised the need for a Regional Gallery, on the 3rd of May 1997 the new gallery complex was opened. The Council became the main sponsor for the open section of the event and since then the Annual Competitive Art Exhibition is held at the Regional Gallery , which was purpose built and spacious to display up to 200 artworks.
Twenty five years have now passed since the official opening of ‘Gallery 5’ but the work to raise funds and continually improve the facility has never stopped. Gallery 5 is now the venue for the society’s Annual Members Exhibition each year and is a showcase of the members artwork. Nine smaller exhibitions are held each month with different subject for the artist to paint. The Art Society plays an important culture role in the Hervey Bay community in promoting the arts and providing a focal point for artists and like minded people to meet and join in social activities. To celebrate the 50 Anniversary of the Society, a big Exhibition will be held at Gallery 5 from the 13th of February to the 11th of March 2021, which will display the prize winners of all the major exhibitions which the Art Society held over the last 20years. The event will also showcase the workshop activities and the promotion of visual art to the community. We hope the Hervey Bay Art Society will prosper for another 50 years and will provide exhibitions and fine art to the Fraser Coast community.