Artists award returns

THE Warrnibalds — Warrnambool’s popular portraiture competition — will return next year thanks to a new partnership with the WAG.

The event, which is a localised version of the national Archibald Prize, was created by Warrnambool District Employment Access (WDEA) and hosted in its former Artlink gallery in Koroit Street.

The gallery was also home to WDEA’s program for artists with disabilities, but the gallery was closed due to “financial pressures”.

It also meant the Warrnibalds were abandoned this year, but the WAG has stepped in to guarantee the competition will run for the next five years starting in 2015.

WDEA community programs co-ordinator Jack Melican said the community had embraced the Warrnibalds since they began in 2012.

“The announcement now provides artists with time to select a portrait subject and get to work,” Mr Melican said.

He said the event was also a major fund-raiser for the artists with disabilities program.

The new deal will mean the awards will now be held in the WAG from next year, WAG director John Cunningham said.

“We’re thrilled to be joining forces with WDEA on the Warrnibalds,” he said.

The Warrnibald Portrait Prize is open to artists in the municipalities of Moyne, Corangamite and Warrnambool and must be a portrait of someone who has contributed to the community.

mneal@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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