Bernadette Award

Youth Art Encouragement Award

Winner: Youth Art encouragement Award 2018 | We Grow Teeth | Louise Boase

Bernadette-Lee Irene Pitman-Spring.    April 25 1963 – June 17 2013

Proudly, an ongoing award to celebrate and remember Bernadette’s tireless support, encouragement and participation in the lives of young artists. This encouragement award is given to a young emerging artist deemed worthy to receive recognition for their unique skills.



Bernadette was a tireless supporter of the Darlington Festival since moving to the area in 1997, serving on the Darlington Festival Committee and numerous sub-committees. Her special contribution was as the coordinator for the Youth Arts section of the Festival which involved the organisation of art displays and associated awards over a period of 9-10 years.

Bernadette’s creativity and passion for art were evident from an early age and specifically emerged while attending Methodist Ladies College from 1976 to 1980.

From school she attended W.A.I.T. [now known as Curtin University] where she majored in printmaking and focused mainly on etchings. Her forte was in drawing, with a particular skill in the rendering of line and a focus on etching and printmaking. Photography was also a keen passion of hers and many hours were spent in a studio and darkroom facility that she rented in the city with a few friends.

As Exhibitions Coordinator at the Fremantle Arts Centre for ten years, Bernadette was able to combine her extensive art knowledge with her wide-ranging people skills. While her practical skills shone in the areas of curatorial expertise and art installation, she also assisted countless artists in the development of their careers and strong friendships were formed as a result of her unfailing support. Bernadette also worked at the Mundaring Art Centre, coordinating a number of significant art exhibitions.

Bernadette’s keen eye for detail and ability to bring out the best in people allowed artists to feel at ease with the process of exhibiting. Bernadette worked patiently and steadily in her organised manner, particularly during the frantic time in the few days before the opening of an exhibition – always unflappable and seemingly relaxed as she got on with things while others could be seen flying around in a fairly stressed out state!

Those who knew Bernadette see her spiritual essence, her strength, compassion and graceful humility, as well as her enormous capacity to support and encourage all those in her life. Her wide and varying circle of friends all looked up to her immensely and held the utmost respect for her values and approach to life and family. Bern was a ‘giver’ in all ways, and this encompassed her love of the arts and ensuring the young were exposed, nurtured, and encouraged in this area. There are memories of her sitting at Darlington Primary School on more than a few occasions, outside under a tree with a group of fascinated children demonstrating and sharing the skill of working with ochre and natural pigment materials. A beautiful and very special woman was Bernadette Pitman-Spring.

Through this perpetual award Bernadette will be remembered as one who made a positive difference in the life of young artists. All who knew and worked with Bern will be delighted to see her name recognised in such a positive way.