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 artists who met weekly at the CWA Hall on Torquay Rd, Pialba, to paint and exchange ideas. At a meeting 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 the well established local artist, Mrs Maureen Campbell, became the Tutor of the Society.
The newly formed Art Society met regularly in the small CWA Hall, and the members soon embarked on a mission to raise funds for the purchase of a property that would become their permanent home. It was decided that the best way to raise money was to organize exhibitions.
After 10 years of exhibitions and fund raising, the Art Society had raised $40,000 and approached the State Government for a “dollar for dollar” contribution toward the purchase of a building. They had found an old bakery on Sandy St, Urangan which suited their needs, but unfortunately the bid was not successful.
The committee of the Society decided to establish an Annual Art Exhibition, which would include artists from outside Hervey Bay as well as locals.
The first Annual Competitive Art Exhibition was held on the 28th July to the 1st August 1983 at the Hervey Bay Hall. As it was a big success, the committee decided to make the event a permanent annual fixture. In 1984, it became a bigger and more organized 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 this exhibition, and congratulated everyone involved in organizing the event. Mr Powell stated that 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 has become a permanent fixture on the Hervey Bay cultural 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 building at #5 Sandy St, Urangan, was purchased, and the members held their first meeting there on the 18th February 1993. More fund raising was undertaken to meet the cost of refurbishing the building.
In June 1995, 30 members attended what was called the “Bakery Wake”, which was a party to celebrate the changing of the old bakery into the new Art Gallery, which was named “Gallery 5”. By then, the 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 our Art Society, and we are very proud of their achievements and early efforts.
In 1995, the Hervey Bay Council recognized the need for a Regional Art Gallery, and on 3rd May 1997, the new gallery complex was opened. This building was purpose built, and spacious enough to display up to 200 artworks. Since then, our HBAS Annual Competitive Art Exhibition has been held in this venue, and the council have become our main sponsor for the “Open Section” of the event.
Twenty Five years have now passed since the official opening of Gallery 5, but the work to raise funds to continually improve the facility, has never stopped.
Today we are proud that it is a professional, attractive, comfortable and very functional venue.
The Annual Members Exhibition is run here each year, which is a showcase of our members artworks. Nine smaller exhibitions are held each year, featuring different themes. Our Art Society plays an important cultural role in the Hervey Bay community, promoting the Arts, and providing a focal point for artists to meet and join in social activities.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Hervey Bay Art Society, we will be holding a special exhibition at Gallery 5, from 13 Feb 2021 to the 11th March 2021.
This exhibition will feature prize winning works from our major exhibitions held over the past 20 years. The event will also showcase the workshop activities and the promotion of visual Art to the community.
We hope that the Hervey Bay Art Society will prosper for another 50 years, continuing to provide exhibitions and Fine Art to the Fraser Coast community.