65 years of local art

By Alex Gretgrix

THE Echuca Moama Artists group have been "promoting the study and appreciation of traditional and contemporary" for 65 years and it's time to celebrate.

The group has decided to commemorate this birthday in the best way they know how, to hold an anniversary exhibition.

“It's such a big milestone to celebrate, we have such a rich history here,” Art group president Joyce Dempsey said.

In May 1954, the then Echuca Art Group held it's first inaugural meeting with it's committee consisting of 10 members.

“Considering how long ago it started, to be able to keep the group going for so long is an amazing thing,” group secretary Maryanne Jenkins said.

Since then, many drawing classes, tutorials, talks and films were held by the group, enabling hundreds of people to further their artistic knowledge.

In the late 1990's, the group was able to take over the former Infant Welfare Centre in Hare Street and turn it into the Alton Gallery.

The gallery provides a meeting place, social workshop and exhibition venue but is also used by other groups within the community.

This latest exhibition will feature works from local artists created with different mediums such as painting, lead pencil sketches, sculpting and much more.

“We've been able to put on what we think is a great cultural event for Echuca and even though numbers have dropped off, we still feel it's a good quality art show and the work is of a high standard,” Maryanne said.

The group believe keeping art in people's lives is something that should continue as long as possible.

“Art is such an important part of life,” she said.

“It's a kind of therapy for some people. It can help them relax or it's just something for them to do.”

The exhibition is being held at the St Mary's Hall in Anstruther Street on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am until 4pm.