Sixty-five finalist artworks by school students from around northern NSW who have entered their work into the UNE Schools Art Prize (UNESAP) will be displayed in an online version of the annual Let’s Hang It! exhibition.
Despite complications linked to COVID-19 restrictions, resulting in the temporary closure of schools and NERAM, there has been an enthusiastic response from the region’s young artists with 450 entries from students representing 30 schools, using a new digital entry system. From those entries a selection panel of arts and education professionals had the very difficult task of selecting the sixty-five finalists across the four age categories infants, primary, junior secondary and senior secondary.
“We did have moments of doubt where we were not sure if we would be able to hold UNESAP this year,” NERAM Director, Rachael Parsons said. “The NERAM team had to devise a new no-contact submission system and we knew that we would not be able to host our usual opening night and award ceremony where we expect around 350 guests in attendance to celebrate the students’ success and hear the winner announcements. But the program is such a vital acknowledgment of the creative talent of the region’s young artists and of the importance of arts education. So, we worked with teachers to make sure the program could still happen and we have once again been blown away with the level of participation and the really outstanding artwork submitted.”
This year the UNESAP Let’s Hang It ! exhibition will be delivered online via the NERAM website. The sixty-five finalists and images of their works will be viewable from Friday 31 July at 4pm and the winner announcement will be made via video at 5pm.
“We invite all of the participating students, their families and friends as well as the arts community to view the artwork and watch the video announcement online and to share in the excitement and celebration of the finalists’ and winners’ achievements… while adhering to responsible social distancing,” said Rachael Parsons.
The popular People’s Choice Award will also be conducted on-line over the course of the two-week exhibition.
UNESAP has been developed through an on-going partnership with the University of New England and is in its seventeenth year. The competition which was originally established by the UNE Faculty of Professions (now the UNE Faculty of Education) in 2004 to promote interest in the visual arts amongst primary and secondary school teachers and encourage talented young artists around regional NSW. As with all previous years, the four First Prize-winning artworks will become a part of the UNE art collection and will be displayed around the University campus in Armidale.
UNESAP Let’s Hang It! will be on display online on the New England Regional Art Museum from 31 July – 16 August 2020. Visit www.neram.com.au/unesap-2020-online-exhibition/
UNESAP 2020 has been made possible by the University of New England and sponsor S&S Creativity Unlimited.