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Ballarat to host the Archibald Prize Exhibition

23 September 2015

Spring and autumn are most definitely the best seasons to get out and enjoy what’s on offer in Ballarat – not too hot, and not too cold.

And throw in school holidays, there is plenty on offer! Including what’s on offer at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

Probably one of the most exciting exhibitions to come to Ballarat in a while is the touring exhibition of the 2015 Archibald Prize.

This is Australia’s favourite art award, and one of its most prestigious! It was first awarded in 1921 and is given out for the best portrait painting – usually of a who’s who of Australian culture.

Over the years, many Australian notable artists have won the award including William Dobell, Nora Heysen, Brett Whiteley and Ben Quilty.

The prize was named for Jules Francois Archibald (1856-1919) who was the founding editor of The Bulletin. He made a significant contribution to the development of a ‘distinctly Australian style of literature and graphic newspaper art’. On his death in 1919, his bequest funded the creation of the major portrait painting competition.

In accordance with the bequest, each year Australian’s are invited to submit paintings portraying men or women ‘distinguished in Art, Letters, Science or Politics’. The trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales judge the entries and the winner receives $100,000 in prize money. There is also a people’s choice award for the entry voted most popular with visitors to the exhibition.

The Art Gallery of Ballarat is the exclusive Victorian venue for the 2015 Archibald Prize. The exhibition will run from 2 October until 15 November

The Young Archies

While the exhibition is on at the Art Gallery, the entire Ballarat CBD will be transformed into a portrait gallery with local businesses displaying portraits done by local school children.

The Young Archies project is designed to educate kids about portraiture and to inform kids about the Archibald Prize.

My Special Archies

From 20-30 October there will be an exhibition of portraits by students from the Ballarat Specialist School of people that they regard as special in their lives. More than 250 students have worked for a term on creating this project, studying past and present Archibald Prize entries as well as portraits hanging in the Art Gallery.


*Information courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ballarat – Archibald Prize 2015 website