As a publication that is constantly striving to showcase the best local attractions, it seems only fitting that Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG) find its way onto Newcastle Mirage.
Located in the heart of Maitland, which is one of the oldest heritage rich regional centres in Australia, is MRAG, as well as an array of businesses, shops, cafes & other hot spots. It only seems fair to have it located in the heart of the town, as it really is a great hub for local & international art that is full of heart & creativity.
Hosting over 500 events each year and 25 exhibitions annually (roughly 4000+ pieces of art per-year), MRAG is consistently churning out amazing art for locals and tourists to come and enjoy every day, and FOR FREE (yeah, you saw that correctly!)
Plus, this art hub is not just for the art majors and self-proclaimed artists out there, this is a place for everyone. With programs designed for the young ones (The Art Factory), events & exhibitions for adults & elderly, as well as an array of workshops and classes (which you can check out here). There is truly something for everyone to enjoy at MRAG.
Alongside the amazing art on display, MRAG have their very own shop which boasts a variety of interesting trinkets, art pieces, books, bags and homewares - with these pieces made and crafted locally, as well as objects from the Pacific and the East, including Africa and Mexico.
Oh & did we mention food? Yeah, well MRAG have you covered there too with the Seraphine Cafè, named after the 18th century French artistè of the same name - available for casual pop ins, catering and events/functions.
With so much to do and see, we highly recommend you check out MRAG next time you're in Maitland. To those who say you can't get good things for free, they obviously haven't been to MRAG.
The Brenda Clouten Scholarship
In the lead up to one of MRAG's most highly anticipated scholarship exhibitions, the 'Brenda Clouten Memorial Travelling Scholarships for Young Achievers in the Visual Arts', we want to give a little shout-out & info to local artists out there, who may be interested in applying - as submissions close on the 8th of June.
The scholarship was established to support a young achiever in visual arts (30 years or under), who is a student or recent graduate at a tertiary education institution, to undertake a program of professional development in an international context.
Named on behalf of Brenda Clouten, who was a well-respected & talented part of Maitland's art community, the scholarship gives the opportunity for local artists to exhibit their talent to judges and the community, and take their desire for art even further.
If you are interested in checking out the exhibition or applying, more info can be found on MRAG's socials, website or below...
Brenda Clouten Scholarship Runner Up 2016
As for previous entries into the inaugural scholarship, I am happy to introduce you to Liss Finney, who was 2016's 'Brenda Clouten Scholarship' runner-up, with the top prize going out to Dale Collier.
This exhibition was Liss' first time combining a mixture of video, installation and photography works into an exhibit. For her exhibition there was a large focus on environmental conservation, whereby Liss explored the link between global warming and animal agriculture’s plight on the natural world.
Liss could be best described as the David Attenborough of the local art scene. Her work combines the confronting issues of our world with incredible artistic flair and ingenuity, which is a real testament to her passion for art & environmentalism.
Finney was awarded the $3000 prize for her entry and this saw her travel and take up residency in Iceland, a place that holds a special place in Finney's heart, with Iceland being one of her biggest inspirations and fascinations for her art.
Liss was even named as one of four finalists in the 2014 Brenda Clouten Memorial Traveling Scholarship for a Young Achiever in the Visual Arts, which resulted in the opportunity to hang alongside the 2014 Archibald prize exhibition at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
Overall, Finney regarded the Brenda Clouten Scholarship as a great experience and MRAG as a gallery that support and allow you to really find and focus on your creative goals and propel further as an artist.
We were lucky enough to have a good chat to Liss about her entry, as well as her own personal art projects, which will be featured in our upcoming May issue of Newcastle Mirage. Be sure to grab a copy!