29 September 2023

The art of Crookwell goes on display - but help is needed to uncover the stories behind the art

| Sally Hopman
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Woman in front of painting

Upper Lachlan Shire’s Deputy Mayor Mandy McDonald with one of the works in Hidden Gems, Mob of Mulgas by Margaret Shepherd. Photo: Supplied.

They are scattered across the Upper Lachlan Shire in halls, council buildings – wherever there’s a decent inside wall – works of art that have a connection to or are about Crookwell and its surrounds.

For Deputy Mayor Mandy McDonald, tracking down these works of art – some good, others a little more challenging – has been a labour of love. As an artist herself, the goal has been to hang these pieces in the one space and put them on show to the public, locals and visitors alike.

“For many of these pieces, no one really gets to see them,” Councillor McDonald said.

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“Some are in buildings that people don’t often get to see, so the idea was to try to track them down and display them in the one central place where everyone can see them.

“We have accumulated about 30 works over the years,” Cr McDonald said. “Some of them were donated, others we acquired, but there are some we would love to know more about. Some that we just don’t know anything about.”

The additional plan, she said, was to learn more about the works themselves – who painted them, their connection to the Upper Lachlan – which stretches from Crookwell across to Gunning and Taralga – and what stories they could tell about the Southern Tablelands region.

Poster for Hidden Gems art exhibition

More than 30 works of art, some rarely seen, go on show in Crookwell next weekend in the Hidden Gems exhibition. Photo: Supplied.

Cr McDonald, one of the organisers of the exhibition as well as its curator, said the show, Hidden Gems would go on display at the Crookwell District Art Gallery in the town’s Memorial Hall.

“Chances are most residents of the shire haven’t been to all of our offices or seen all of these works before,” she said.

“These paintings are predominantly by local artists and many display local scenes and landscapes. I think people will be amazed by the quality of the work but also by how they appear together in the context of an art exhibition.”

The paintings will be on show across Saturday 7 October and Sunday 8 October, from 10 am to 4 pm each day. Entry is free.

The exhibition is part of Paint the Town, a street art festival organised by Southern Tablelands Arts across the Upper Lachlan Shire that finishes on Sunday 8 October.

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