A4 Art Australia 2020
at the Herring Island Gallery
14-15 and 21-22 MARCH,
as part of the Herring Island Summer Arts Festival 2020
Review by Heather King
On March 14th the CAS A4 Art Australia exhibition for 2020 opened on Herring island.
This is the last show in the program of Herring Island Summer Arts Festival shows for the year and I am happy to report it was a great success. But none of it could have happened without the careful planning and organisation of the Committee and the wonderful volunteers. So before I go on to the actual show, I would like to review the two days of the show set up and the sterling work of others before that. First of all, Cressida Fox collects and processes all the entries online and the works as they arrive in the mail. Fred Fair, our Treasurer, then has to collate the payments and the banking. Robert Lee, our President, scans all the works so they can be put online for online selling and promotion. This is by no mean all that goes on in the background for the organising but it is a glimpse of the work involved before we even get to the island.
So on Wednesday 11th March the Happy Hanging Crew made the boat trip from Como Landing to Herring Island. We had received a record number of entries this year, over 580 works to frame and set up. We had four teams of framers and a team of box movers and frame deliverers. One person on each of the framing tables was responsible for handing out works, frames, labels and numbers to the other team members, who then framed and sealed the works. We worked like Billyo, only taking a short break for a cuppa and a hot cross bun and then quick lunch of sandwiches kindly prepared by our president Robert Lee. Thanks Robert. Very nice they were too!
We managed to frame I think about two thirds of the works by the time we called it a day and the guys team managed to put up the screens, place the hanging wires, prepare the plinths all the while keeping the rest of us supplied with boxes of frames. At about 3:45pm we called it quits for the day and we had broken the back of the job, so had less than we had expected still to do on the Friday. The Wednesday workers were: Thalia Andrews, Gordon Carter, Kylie Castan, Olga Dziemidowicz, Aleshanee Faery, Karen Foley, Susan Gustafson, Siobhan Hannigan, Catherine Harris, Kirstin Hibbs, Sepide Jafariparast, Jan Jamieson, Megan-Jane Johnstone, Aphrodite Kavali, Heather King, Robert Lee, Mario Mirabile, Patricia Mirabile, Filomena Roberts, Nicole Spillane, June Stahle, Peta Tranquille, and Bruce Webb.
The hanging team - mission accomplished
a section of finished wall
On Friday we continued framing until they were all done, then immediately started on the hanging, again we split up in to teams and the work progressed like a train. The Friday team consisted of: Gordon Carter, Laurie Collins, George Eustice, Karen Foley, Cressida Fox, Susan Gustafson, Carly Hendriquez, Heather King, Robert Lee and Evelyn Young. A special Thank you to Evelyn as she came to help even though she didn’t have any entries in this years show. Good on you Evelyn.
Visitors enjoying the opening
At the opening - manning the desk
The opening itself was a celebration of all the hard work and wonderful entries and which was enjoyed by all. Robert Lee opened the exhibition by talking about the ease of entry for artists interstate, country and local as all entries came by post and no framing was required by the entrants. He said that the show was possibly the largest A4 Art show in the world, as the one in America had far fewer works than ours and they weren’t framed. He also explained the framing and hanging was all done in one and a half days!
There was a great turnout for the opening, about 175 people. Gallery visitors chatted happily about art and the exhibition, and enjoyed the nibbles and drinks. We got a lot of positive feedback about the quality and quantity of artworks, and the hanging and layout, and generally had a lovely time. People who had been to previous A4 shows said this one is our best yet. And there were 23 art sales. The small format and very affordable prices make these works even more accessible to buyers.
Listening to the opening speech
All the money from the Gold coin donations for catalogues will be going to the wildlife bushfire appeal. Some feedback from the public included comments about the work, the cleverness and ingenuity of the artists, the consistency of the artists’ alibility to create something different from their usual works, and admiration for the A4 format and the thought that for some, this format may have been challenging.
More people at the opening
The show will remain open for the time being as the punt can only deliver 12 people to the island at a time so please come and look.
Then along came COVID-19 .... by Cressida Fox
As the coronavirus pandemic took off in Australia, CAS Committee had to make the hard decision to close A4 Art Australia 2020 to the public at the end of its second weekend, Sunday 22nd March. This step was taken during the constantly evolving situation for the health and wellbeing of our members, entrants, volunteers and visitors. And soon after, Herring Island and other galleries and public places also closed to the public, and everyone was requested to stay home.
The CAS President and Treasurer worked hard to find the best way to still support and promote our A4 Art Australia artists, to sell artworks and keep the show going - ONLINE - for six months until 30 October.
We had a good number of online shoppers, and our virtual A4 Art exhibition attracted many visitors during lockdown, giving them the opportunity to view art in isolation.
After 30 October, our hard working President did the final big task of mailing all the unsold works back to our participating artists. All 582 Artworks are still available to view in our Online Gallery, and on Facebook, and we still welcome any sales enquiries.
What a year. However we are now planning A4 Art Australia 2021. The online entry form is up on the CAS website, and we are now taking entries. Exhibition Conditions of Entry and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) are also available to download before you do your entries.
To build on what we've learned this year, all of the works in A4 Art Australia 2021 will be available to purchase online for 3 months after the show ends at Herring Island on 5 April. The online sale will go till 30 June.