Open Art

Submissions for the 2023 Open Art Exhibition will open soon, please stay in touch.

Our four awards categories are:


Printmaking/Drawing/Mixed Media

Photography/Digital Art

3D (Sculpture/Furniture/Ceramics/Textiles/Jewellery/other)

Open Art Exhibition 2021 winners and more. . . . . .

Congratulations to all of our artists that exhibited in 2021. The overwhelming feedback was that the standard of entries was exceptional. And we agree!

In total there were 120 artists, and 203 pieces displayed. Forty one artists sold 50 artworks. and if you include Sculpture on the Scarp and the sales in the Artists Shop there were 140 Artists, with 71 selling something this year.

Thank you to the curators Gemma Ben-Ary, Kristy Scaddan, Breanne Sharp, Hugh Breslin and Morgyn Dreaver.

Special thanks to the judges who really had their work cut out for them with so many pieces to consider! Clare Stroud, Sue Starken and Stephen Castledine.

First Prize: Painting – Oil on Canvas: Alastair Taylor | Contemplating the ‘Infinite”

The Judges said “Composition of work, use of empty space and confident use of paint. The viewer is drawn into the filed of thought and allowed to create their own narrative.”

First Prize | Photography and Digital Art | Digital photographic print on fine art paper |
Sean Standen | Moon and Snow Bluff Knoll

First Prize | Photography and Digital Art – Digital photograph print on fine art paper | Sean Standen | Moon and Snow Bluff Knoll

The Judges said “Any of Sean’s photographs could have won. This captured the essence of time and place and the vastness of the environment. The Composition is exquisite”.

First Prize | 3D – Ceramics Raku | Sarah-Keirle | Banksia-grandis

The Judges said: “Dramatic and Subtle. Masterful use of techniques. A monumentality despite its size and lovely stillness.”

First Prize | Mixed Media Oil Pastel on Board | Madeleine Clear | Sundown at the Quarry

The Judges said: “Magnificent use of medium. Ethereal, refined sensitivity.”

Last year there was so much uncertainty around whether the festival would be able to get off the ground so we did things a little differently. The limitations due to COVID regulations. meant that we had to work at a vastly reduced capacity

In the end, although there were fewer pieces, everyone agreed it looked so much better without the dividers though the room. This year we are going to try to replicate that but will also be using the Lesser Hall to display a few more pieces!

We have had an incredible number of entries this year and will be curating them this week. Having had a sneek peek at some of the work we can confirm the quality is once again superb.


As per previous years there are four categories:

  • Painting
  • Drawing, Mixed Media and Printmaking
  • Photography and Digital Art and
  • 3-Dimensional Art.

Artists will be able to enter up to four items across two categories, with a maximum of three in any one category.

Artist’s Shop (NEW)

We are adding the Artists Shop which will be located in part of the Lesser Hall. Artists that enter work into either the Sculpture on the Scarp or the Open Art Exhibitions will be invited to enter some pieces into the shop.

Unlike sold exhibition items which can only be collected when the Festival has closed, shop items can be purchased and taken away by festival visitors throughout the weekend. There will be a wide range of artistic works including unframed prints, and original artworks, maquettes, jewellery pottery, clothing and other merchandise. In the lead up to Christmas, we anticipate that this will be popular with visitors.

Looking back at 2020

Introspective Exhibition

in 2020 we held an an Art Introspective. During these Covid-times some thoughtful reflection seemed right. We felt it was important to support our local and longstanding artists by inviting them to exhibit some of their work. There were no prizes last year, just great art, available for purchase or to just enjoy seeing. Your favorites were there, Gus Skene, Vince Austin, Ric Burkitt, Amanda Smith, Noreen Burrow, Jo Meredith, Alastair Taylor, Una Bell, Neil Elliot and so many more!

L-R Janet Day, Kristy Scadden, Jan Pittman, Ian Kay, Andrew Taylor, Amanda Smith, Neil Elliot, Alison Lindsay

The Early Years

We also had on display some works by some of the early festival greats – including Robert Juniper in our Early Years Exhibition in the Lesser Hall.

Open Art Exhibition 2018

Thank you to all of the visitors and the artists that took part in the 2018 Open Art Exhibition

Every year we are amazed by the diversity and the quality of the artwork.  Last year really was the best ever (according to feedback from visitors).

‘Fabulous artwork,  excellently curated’

Below are some of the winning artworks from 2018


1st  |  Dimity Gregson No 88  – Welcome Home

Winner | Open Art 2018 | Painting | Dimity Gregson – Welcome Home

Judges Comment:  The spontaneous circle in the square perfectly frames the complete simplicity of the flowers.


Highly commended  | Amanda Smith No 112 – Hound on Rug

Highly Commended | Open Art 2018 – Painting | Amanda Smith – Hound on Rug – Detail

Highly Commended | Open Art 2018 – Painting | Amanda Smith – Hound on Rug

Printmaking | Drawing

1st  |  Noreen Burrow No 58 – This Could Be Awkward

Image: Not provided.

Judges comment: The delicate simplicity of the drawing captures the unique Australian environment.


Highly commended |  Moira Court  – No 100 – The Crow and the Pitcher

The Crow and The Pitcher (concertina artist’s book). Woodcut and lino print on Awagami bamboo paper with screen printed linen cover.


1st  |  Ron Dullard – No 31 – Madeleine Clear

Judges comment:   A classic portrait photograph with great empathy for the subject.


Highly commended  |  Kevin Wilson No 32

The Bankers


1st  |  Joanne Francis –  No 21 – Vessel Spanning the Isle

Basketry in all natural fibres

Judges comment:   Material from nature combined with hand weaving that intuitively connects the viewer.


Highly commended  |   Jane Button No 25 – Voyager (Image not provided)

Mixed media – drypoint etching, wood

If you have questions , please contact  OpenEx@darlingtonartsfestival.com