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Celebrating the Artists of the Moreton Bay Region: The Petrie Pot Off

The Moreton Bay Region is home to a substantial amount of talented local artists, yet, it is often overshadowed by Brisbane’s inner city art scene. Because of this, it is important to cultivate community arts and support local artists.

This article is a case study of The Petrie Pot Off, an art prize I initiated to showcase the artistic excellence of my local pottery club. The prize provided a platform for club members of all experience levels to exhibit their work, embracing creativity, inclusion, and a sense of community.

In the world of art, creativity flourishes when artists are given the opportunity to explore, experiment, and push their boundaries. Hosting an art prize is not just about selecting the best artwork; it’s about providing a platform for artists to showcase their talents, challenge themselves, and connect with the wider community.

visitor viewing pottery entries at the petrie pot off in the moreton bay region

Recently, I had the privilege of organising a local art prize, “The Petrie Pot Off,” for my local pottery club. The North Pine Country Park Potters is a not-for-profit organisation nestled in Old Petrie Town in the Moreton Bay Region. It was established in 1976 and now boasts over 100 members. I have been a member for over a year now and have been astounded by the amount of skill and experience among its other members.

The event was a great success, and I’m excited to share our experience with fellow artists and event organisers who are looking to inspire artists and engage their communities.

The North Pine Country Potters Barn

Setting the Stage: Cultivating Creativity and Inclusion

The goal of The Petrie Pot Off was to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for all of our club members, regardless of their experience level. We wanted to encourage creativity, experimentation, and a sense of community among our potters.

To achieve this, we decided to make the prize accessible and less intimidating for those who were new to entering art competitions. Unlike many art prizes that have a selection process for finalists, we welcomed all entries into the exhibition. This inclusive approach allowed every artist to have their work showcased and experience the joy of exhibiting their ceramic art.

visitor viewing the mythology category

Creating Guidelines that Encourage Exploration

While we wanted the prize to be open and inclusive, we also recognized the importance of having some guidelines to ensure fairness and consistency. We implemented a maximum size limit of 30cm to ensure that all pieces could be displayed effectively and that no singular piece dominated the exhibition space.

We also introduced three categories for artists to enter: Australia Flora and Fauna, Mythology, and The Human Body. These categories were broad enough to provide flexibility for creative expression while still offering some focus and inspiration.

Engaging Judges and Promoting the Event

To ensure fair and impartial judging, we reached out to individuals outside of our club who were enthusiastic about art and/or important figures in the Moreton Bay Region. Our judging panel included Kirstin Farr, a talented potter from the Ceramic Arts Queensland board, Chris Neyenhuys, a local business owner (Ideal Painting Solutions), and our local MP, Shane King, who has previously demonstrated a keen interest in our club.

Ideal Painting Solutions and Sari Painters were kind sponsors of our event and donated the prize money for our awards.

To promote the event and generate excitement among our members, we utilized our public Facebook page and created a dedicated event page where we posted regular updates and announcements. We even procured a cameo from the popular potter Keith Brymer Jones, who encouraged our members to participate in the prize.

Our sponsors; Ideal Painting Solutions, Sarri Painters and MP Shane King

Putting it all Together: A Collaborative Effort

Organising an art prize requires a collaborative effort, and I was incredibly grateful for the support of our club members and my family. The club president, John Marshall, played a pivotal role in securing sponsorship money, recruiting judges, and providing me with emotional support when my perfectionism and inner control-freak surfaced. My mum, Beverley Bird, assisted with mounting didactics, and setting up the exhibition. Our club members also contributed by providing food and drinks for the event. This collaborative spirit was essential to the success of The Petrie Pot Off.

Two of our sponsors and judges chris and shane king
Two of our sponsors and judges Chris Neyenhuys and MP Shane King
Rosie Bird handing out certificate to Geraldine Hermann, People's Choice and Australian Flora and Fauna winner
Rosie Bird handing out certificate to Geraldine Hermann, People's Choice and Australian Flora and Fauna winner

Celebrating Success and Looking into the Future

The Petrie Pot Off was a hit, attracting 36 entries and a huge turnout for the exhibition opening and awards. We received positive feedback from both artists and attendees, and the event generated a newfound enthusiasm for art within our club.

At the award ceremony, we announced the winners, presented them with certificates, and awarded a people’s choice award. Everything ran smoothly except for one minor hitch…we had a tie breaker for The Human Body Category. Luckily, MP Shane King kindly donated an additional prize amount to ensure that the two winners did not have to split the cash.

John Marshall, How About This Heat, 2021. | The Human Body Winner
John Marshall, How About This Heat, 2021 | The Human Body Joint Winner
Sheryl Green, Heartstrings, 2023 | The Human Body Joint Winner
Sheryl Green, Heartstrings, 2023 | The Human Body Joint Winner
Lyndell Petersen, Hell Hound, 2023 | Mythology Winner
Lyndell Petersen, Hell Hound, 2023 | Mythology Winner
Geraldine Hermann, Yallaroo, 2023 | Australian Flora and Fauna Winner and People's Choice
Geraldine Hermann, Yallaroo, 2023 | Australian Flora and Fauna Winner and People's Choice

Key Takeaways for Art Event Organizers

1. Foster Creativity and Inclusion: Create an environment that welcomes artists of all experience levels and provides opportunities for exploration and experimentation.

2. Establish Guidelines for Fairness: Implement clear guidelines that promote consistency and fairness without stifling creativity.

3. Engage External Judges: Seek out impartial judges who are valuable your field or community to ensure fair and accurate assessment of artwork.

4. Promote the Event Effectively: Utilise social media, and creative collaborations to generate excitement and attract participants.

5. Embrace Collaboration: Enlist the support of fellow organizers, club members, and volunteers to share the workload and ensure a successful event. – This is something I didn’t do enough of, though not through lack of offers (I’m very stubborn). Next year I will be handing over the reins.

6. Celebrate Success and Inspire for the Future: Recognise the achievements of artists, appreciate the contributions of organisers and volunteers, and consider making the event an annual tradition.

couple viewing the australian flora and fauna category entries

Be sure to check out our sponsors and the North Pine Country Park Potters website. We offer a range of classes and handmade pieces for sale. We are open to the public every Sunday 8am-1pm. Our shop is stocked with affordable pieces all made by our members. Support our artists by giving us a visit.

Rosie Bird

Rosie is an artist and creative innovator from Brisbane Australia. With two fine arts degrees and years of experience in the contemporary art world, she has acquired a wealth of industry knowledge. She founded open-folio as a way of creating a vibrant online community of contemporary artists and helping them reach their fullest potential.

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