50 Times a Winner- Box Hill Rotary Art Show

The Rotary Club of Box Hill celebrated the Golden Jubilee presentation of their Annual Art Show in the Box Hill Town Hall over the period November 13 to 16.

Many readers may remember that the original Box Hill Art Show was held on the plantation in the centre of Box Hill – about where the tram terminus is today. From humble beginnings with a handful of local artists and their paintings, today’s art show proudly exhibits some 800 paintings, drawing artists from the eastern seaboard of Australia.

The prestigious award at the Rotary Club’s Art Show is the Frederick McCubbin Medal Award – named for the early Australian Impressionist painter. Historians in the area will tell you that the early Australian masters (circa 1880) painted many of their works at the Box Hill Artists’ Camp, situated near the site of the Box Hill Golf Club. Other members of this famous art troupe were (Sir) Arthur Streeton, Charles Condor, Tom Roberts and, of course, Frederick McCubbin. The award for Best in Show was negotiated by the Rotary Club with the daughter of Frederick McCubbin, Kathleen Mangan.

Coincident with the staging of the 50th Annual Art Show was the 21st presentation of the McCubbin Medal Award. The first medal awarded was won by Chris White in 1994, and this year’s winner is Doug Sealy with his “Sidewalk Takeaway – Cusco, Peru”.

Two of the highlights of this year’s show saw a special display of paintings from past McCubbin Medal winners. Colloquially referred to as the Cavalcade of McCubbin, the presentation of these fine works added a quantum to the enjoyment of being at the art show. The second highlight (for me) was the return to the show of an exhibition of student art from seven of the local High Schools and Colleges. This had not been a feature of the Box Hill Rotary Art Show for many years, but the Club believed it a fitting tribute to young artists within the municipality to again have a section for schools to display works of their students. The Stoll Trust Award for High School Student Art was this year won by Ashley Morse of Our Lady of Sion College for her pen-and-ink “The Power of the People”.

The art show had on display paintings to suit the majority of those who attended this gala event, from the traditional Australian Impressionist paintings to more modern, trendy pieces that had great appeal for those building a new home and seeking the more “modern” look for their wall furnishings.

The art show was a major success, no matter which way one measures this attribute. Proceeds from the sale of artwork at the show are being donated to Alkira – a local organisation assisting people with intellectual disabilities. The Rotary Club has entered into an agreement with Alkira to financially support its building program, which when finished will see the establishment of a commercial kitchen that will be used to train clients at Alkira, enabling them to find meaningful employment in their future years.

If you missed the 50th Annual Art Show conducted by the Rotary Club of Box Hill, you missed a great spectacle, and also missed attending a milestone event. Next year’s event is again booked for Box Hill Town Hall and will be conducted from Thursday, 3 December through to Sunday, 6 December. Art lovers unite – this is a show you shouldn’t miss.

Peter Cummins
Return to Bulletin #135