Where it all began…..
From 2005 – 2007 an Art Exhibition was held in conjunction with the Dardanup Autumn Affair which was a series of competitions for our community in floral arranging, cooking and photography as well as art. The Autumn Affair was a fundraiser organized by the Dardanup P&C and P&F. The art exhibition was held in the lesser hall with the rest of the competitions held in the main hall. An increase in art entries required more space and as interest in the other areas of the competitions waned it was decided that the art exhibition would move into the main hall and become a stand alone event.
So in 2008 the art exhibition became known as the Dardanup Art Spectacular. The Dardanup Shire wanted to become involved in the event as a way of showcasing the work of emerging artists in the Shire, so the Dardanup Art Spectacular was organized primarily by the Shire of Dardanup staff with assistance from community volunteers.
In 2009 the Committee introduced the Art Trail and a new category for artists who lived outside the Shire of Dardanup. 91 entries were received and local artist, Neville Peterkin, who was twice a finalist in the Doug Moran National Portraiture Prize, was the resident artist in the Hall showcasing his skills.
By 2010 there was 150 artworks entered and well-known local artist Jenny Doherty showcased her work in the Hall during the weekend. The Art Trail in the Ferguson Valley now included 12 galleries, restaurants and wineries, all staging their own art exhibitions. The prizes that year included 3 x $50 for youth sections, 6 x $150 for amateurs and 2 x $400 for Open Prizes.
Interest continued to grow from the community and more local artists wanted input into the event. In 2012 the Art Spectacular became totally organised by community volunteers with major funding still supplied by the Shire and this has continued ever since.
The Dardanup Art Spectacular has continued to grow with recent years seeing around 300 entries filling both Halls and close to $10,000 in prize money. Many local corporate sponsors have been supporting the Dardanup Art Spectacular for several years and the main prizes are now $1000.00 each. The categories of photography and sculpture have been added to the competition. The combined Opening and Awards night is a must attend event and the Art Exhibition in the Hall and the Art Trail are attended by hundreds of visitors over the weekend. Sales are usually quite healthy. The Art Spectacular’s popularity has seen it grow on the event calendar to become a major art event in the South West. The point of difference still being an art exhibition that encourages emerging artists to enter with many of these now going on to become well respected artists.