The New England Regional Art Museum opens its doors to the Packsaddle fundraising exhibition.

Eminent artist Euan MacLeod will open the 31st Packsaddle fundraising exhibition at the New England Regional Art Museum on Friday.

Viewing of the exhibition will commence at 5pm and visitors can purchase artworks from 6pm with opening remarks by Euan at 7pm.

This year is expected to be one of the busiest yet as the local community get their chance to buy works from a wide range of art, with the exhibition featuring over 400 paintings, drawings and prints by leading artists from across the country.

Co-chair of Packsaddle Moira Lloyd said every year the Packsaddlers organised the fundraising exhibition to support the development of the art collections at NERAM.

“It’s a real labour of love preparing the artworks for exhibition and then selling them to visitors,” she said.   

“Unpacking these artworks is better than Christmas, almost every one is a treasure..

“The exhibition is only on for two weeks so don’t miss out on finding a treasure of your own.”

This year’s Packsaddle exhibition includes works by leading artists such as Bronwyn Bancroft, Elizabeth Cummings, James Gleeson, Frank Hodgkinson, Peter Kingston, Adrian Lockhart, Euan Macleod, Arone Meeks, Angus Nivison, Chris O’Doherty (aka Reg Mombassa), Amanda Penrose Hart, Luke Sciberras, Wendy Sharpe, Garry Shead and Ronnie Tjampitjinpa.

Over the past 31 years the funds raised by the Packsaddle exhibitions have supported the purchase of paintings, prints, sculptures and other artworks for NERAM’s collections,  including the magnificent Margaret Olley painting The Yellow Room Triptych, as well as projects such as replacement lighting equipment and fitting out the Packsaddle Artist Studio and art classroom.

Museum director Robert Heather said every October NERAM was taken over by the dynamic group of artists and enthusiasts from Packsaddle who crammed as many artworks as possible into the exhibition space.

“Every work is on sale with the profits raised being used to support the acquisition of new works for the NERAM collection and other activities,” he said.

“The whole community comes out in force to support this event which is one of the most successful fundraising exhibitions of its kind  in Australia and has made an enormous contribution towards the museum.

“There is something for every taste.

 “I think that the popularity of Packsaddle over the years is one reason why the New England region has so many wonderful private art collections because this exhibition is a great opportunity for local residents to start putting together and building their own art collection in their own home.”

This year the public program for the Packsaddle exhibition will include talks by artists Euan MacLeod, Basil Hall and Angus Nivison as well as a special panel discussion on collecting art at 6.00pm on Friday October 28 at NERAM. 

The 31st Packsaddle fundraising exhibition is on display at NERAM from Friday October 21 until Sunday November 6.

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