of the 1985 Alice Art Prize
Gary Carsley - "Untitled"
For many years The
Alice Prize was held in a corrugated iron shed, walls painstakingly
masked by hundreds of metres of hessian. Later it shifted to
the top floor of a commercial building, the basement of a government
office, and the hospital Nurses' Lounge - "interesting"
were in categories. The Alice Prize winner could come from any
category. With no limit on the number of works, receiving, cataloguing,
and hanging were mammoth tasks. The Art Foundation acquired
the Alice Prize winner, and often additional works, to form
the basis of a collection of national contemporary art.
Judge, David Driden, poses with
Alice Prize Winner, Wombat,
a bronze sculpture by Silvio Apponyi
became an acute problem. Many works were lent to banks and various
other foster homes. The Art Foundaton joined with other voices
to lobby the government for a proper public
art centre - efforts rewarded in 1984
with the completion
of the Araluen Centre for Arts and Entertainment.
BLUE BOY WINS - 1977
Alice Prize, at long
last, had a venue of suitable distinction and the Collection
had a proper home.
began in 1990, together with bigger prize money and a residency
in Alice Springs for the winner. Categories had already been
abolished and artists restricted to one entry. The number of
works went down; and sizes and prices went up.
2000, the Alice Prize Collection comprised over 140 works representing
30 years of Australian contemporary art. Looking at the collection
now, the acquisitions seem easily justified. This was not always
so at the time.
over the winner was, and still is, almost guaranteed, and often
subject of lively exchanges in the media.
Alice Springs continues to be the vibrant centre of a thriving
and diverse arts community . Bringing national contemporary
art to the Centre continues to be the focus and foremost activity
of the Alice Springs Art Foundation.
of the 1974 alice Prize, an
oil painting by young Adelaide
Artist, Vytas Serelic, titled
"Father and Son".
idea of putting Alice Springs on the map by holding a national
art competition was conceived in 1969, and in 1970 the first
Alice Prize was born.
brave group of volunteer administrators was led by businessman
and MLA Bernie Kilgariff, who became the founding President
of the Alice Springs Art Foundation Inc.
prestigious judges, attractive prize money and free air freight,
The Alice Prize was an enticing event.
great response from artists, the media and the public ensured
that Opening Night was not only the highlight of the Alice Springs
social calendar, but a significant event on the national art
1970 and 1971 selected works were toured interstate, and a film
was made by Channel 7 in Adelaide.
contrast to this promotional success, there were severe logistical
problems for exhibiting the works.