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Top art excites at Tauranga Original Art Expo

Work from the Bethlehem Potters Club on display alongside paintings and floral art at the four-day Original Art Expo at Tauranga Boys' College, which finishes today at 5pm. Photos: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

The art on display this weekend in the Tauranga Original Art Expo has excited local Tauranga buyers who are after a purchase of quality art from some of Tauranga’s best artists.

As well as paintings and artwork from the Tauranga Society of Artists, there is also work on display from guest exhibitors - the Bethlehem Pottery Club and the Tauranga Floral Art Group, with still plenty of room to view every exhibit easily. 

“It’s fantastic, you can get right up close and you’re not in anyone else’s way,” says artist Janice Giles who has work on display.

Mary Dillon and Janice Giles at the exhibition on Wednesday evening. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

At the launch on Wednesday night, which featured live Spanish flamenco music from guitarist Michael Lee, Mary Dillon said that “it’s a huge ask” for a group of artists to produce the large volume of work for presentation at the three large art exhibitions that the Tauranga Society of Artists have held in the space of just six months.

“I think it’s particularly indicative of the success of an artist’s group when it can produce the supreme award in October, the exhibition for the Garden & Art Festival in November, and this body of work,” says Mary. 

'Hot Jazz' by Tauranga Floral Art Group florist Kay Aldridge. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

“They’ve got about 200 members and they’re all active too. It shows how they are a really thriving art society. I think that’s very much thanks to the way the president and her committee run it.

“They are innovative, but they allow people a chance to catch up, there’s new people coming in and you can see it in the quality of the art – it just gets better all the time. There’s lovely work here,” says Mary.

Paintings by Stella Clark. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

The president of the Tauranga Art Society Debbie Clarke also has paintings on show in the Original Art Expo.

“We’re just so excited to have nearly 400 paintings from 65 artists,” says Debbie. “We had a wonderful day setting it all up with our lights, and had lots of fun. We got it set up in record time.

“We’re very excited about having the Bethlehem Pottery Club and the Tauranga Floral Art Group with us because it just opens it up to another part of the community. We love people coming in and seeing what wonderful talent we’ve got here.”

Tauranga Art Society president Debbie Clarke. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

Debbie says that of the nearly 200 members in the art society, there are also plenty of artists who don’t want to sell their work.

“They just want to come along and draw for pleasure.”

Debbie says the art society has three committees organising meetings once a month, to pull together all the programmes and workshops.

‘We have a very full week at the art room at 171 Elizabeth St West.”

Pottery from the Bethlehem Pottery Club, on display at the Original Art Expo. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

The society has something happening every day at the art room, except for Fridays when it is used by another organisation.

“But every other day, except Saturdays and Sundays – although often we’ll have workshops in the weekends – but every other week day Mondays to Thursdays, mornings and afternoons on most days - we have a variety of activities. Sometimes it’s open studio, sometimes it’s art school, sometimes it’s oils, or life drawing, or portraiture. There’s lots of opportunities to be involved.”

The friendly Tauranga based society had 300 paintings hanging in November’s Bay of Plenty Garden & Art Festival.

“And in October before that we had another 400 paintings at an exhibition here at the Boys’ College. That was our Supreme Awards.”

All up, this is over 1000 pieces of work that have been exhibited over the last six months.

Artist Janet Fox with her work on display at the Tauranga Original Art Expo. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

“It’s just really exciting for artists who haven’t exhibited before to participate and have their work recognised,” says Debbie.

As well as large paintings, there is also a section in the exhibition for smaller works.

The four-day Original Art Expo, held at Tauranga Boys’ College, closes today, Sunday April 25 at 5pm.

'Autumn Leaves Cerise' - a mixed media work by artist Marilyn Muirhead. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

Art works on display at the Original Art Expo at Tauranga Boys' College. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

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