Muswellbrook Art Prize 2021

11th January 11th - 1st May 2021

Since 1958, the Muswellbrook Art Prize has grown and evolved and is today one of the richest prizes for painting in regional Australia. Finalists for the Muswellbrook Art Prize in 2021 vie for a total of $71,000 prize money across four prize categories: Painting ($50,000 acquisitive), Works on Paper ($10,000 acquisitive), Ceramics ($10,000 acquisitive) and People’s Choice ($1,000 non-acquisitive).

Astute adjudication of the Prize over the years has yielded an excellent collection of modern and contemporary Australian paintings, works on paper and ceramics from the Post War period of the 20th Century and into the 21st Century, with the winning acquisitive works forming the nucleus of what is now known as the Muswellbrook Shire Art Collection.

Previous winners of the Muswellbrook Art Prize include such key figures as David Aspden, Sydney Ball, Richard Larter and Fred Williams. The Upper Hunter Region is also well represented with a number of local artists being successful in winning the Prize including Peter Atkins, Dale Frank, Lyn Nash and Hanna Kay.
Along with Muswellbrook Shire Council, who since 1958 has acted as sponsor and administrator of the Muswellbrook Art Prize, Bengalla Mining Company has generously sponsored the Prize for the past 26 years, their commitment ensuring the development of the Muswellbrook Shire Art Collection.

Image: Marion Borgelt, Moon's Shimmer: No. 1 2019, pearlescent acrylics, acrylic, timber, Belgian linen, nails, vertical end frames, 212 x 210cm,
Winner 47th Muswellbrook Art Prize 2020, Painting, Muswellbrook Shire Art Collection.

In Our Own Words - An Oral History Project

11th January - 1st May 2021

To listen and to hear are two of the greatest gifts an Elder can bestow. Through the Aboriginal Oral History Project In Our Own Words, members of the local Aboriginal Community share their stories of heartache, love, resilience and empowerment.

Aboriginal culture is the oldest living culture on Earth and the Hunter Valley area is rich in deep cultural landscapes, stories and practices.
In Our Own Words not only celebrates Aboriginal people and culture with stories of caring for country, preservation of culture and the deep sense of belonging, but how local Aboriginal people have adapted in a contemporary world, from enterprise development and economic opportunities, to social justice and education.

A defining feature of all those who took this journey was their love of the area and their commitment to a strong future for all Aboriginal people that recognises an often hard past while remaining focused on a strong future for the generations that will follow.

Image: Fred Jackson, Echidna Feeding Around Waterhole 2011, acrylic on canvas, 88 x 110cm,
Purchased by Muswellbrook Shire Council NAIDOC Week 2011, Muswellbrook Shire Art Collection.

Invitation to the Exhibition Opening for May and June

You are invited to the launch of May June Exhibitions

COAST - THE EDGE: Ian Skinner, Sally Burnside and Roger Skinner
TWOFOLD: From the Collections


Exhibition launch kindly sponsored by Small Forest Wine, Hunter Belle Cheese and Pukara Estate.

Logo bar May June

Visitors are required to provide their name and contact details on arrival at the gallery in line with NSW Health rules and our COVID-Safe plan.

Please consider downloading the Service NSW app before your next visit.


11th January  - 27th February 2021

Ignite is the engagement of the imagination and creativity within us all, to produce artworks that exemplify our relationship to modern society on a global scale.
Now in its second year, Ignite showcases the many and varied talents of the graduating Visual Arts class of 2020 from Muswellbrook High School. Each student has engaged with their personal experiences of life to develop a Body of Work that communicates their intentions to an audience.
Ignite 2021 is a celebration of their hard work and commitment, as practicing artists, to provoke thought within our community, question and sometimes challenge our perceptions of the world.

Image: Ella Murray, Youth on Record 2020, mixed media, 60 x 60cm.

ART TRACKS IV Myth, Folklore, Wisdom

8 March  - 1 st May 2021

Throughout history, mythologies and folklore have expressed, through shared verbal and visual narratives, the customs and values of civilisations.

Contemporary artists both seek to preserve these stories in a continuation of legacies that stretch back through the millennia (Margaret Loy Pula, Anatye - Bush Potato), as well as reinterpret them in the creation of new visual narratives (Col Jordan, Daedalus Series No. 10).

Art Tracks IV: Myth, Folklore and Wisdom draws together works from the Collections acquired via the Muswellbrook Art Prize, each as a unique representation of that which shape and reflect cultural values and identity, and afford meaning and intelligibility to our world.

Image: Pam Sinnott, Heart Altar (from the Minotaur series) 1989, stoneware, gilded, 14 x 14 x 30cm, Winner, Costain Coal Ceramic Award 1989,
Muswellbrook Shire Art Collection.

A DOG IS A DOG from the collections

11th January - 1st May 2021

Inspired by T.S. Eliot’s poem of the same name, A dog is A Dog assembles works from the Collections depicting our four-legged friends in a series of charming and at times peculiar scenes.

Man’s bond with dogs has persisted for centuries, evolving from a hunting partner into the now common pastime of showing them off on the internet and labelling them as ones ‘best friend’.

For thousands of years, artists have shown their admiration and respect for dogs by painting and carving their likenesses. As canines are often living symbols of loyalty, protection, and unconditional love, it’s easy to see why they’ve been such a long and colourful part of art history.

We celebrate our bond with dogs and the long history of dog inspired art in A dog is A Dog.

Image: Michael Bell, The Dog Beach, Newcastle 2005, oil on canvas, 122 x 175cm, Winner, Muswellbrook Open Art Prize 2005, Muswellbrook Shire Art Collection.

The School Quadrangle - Garrie Collins

11th January  - 27th February 2021

“My art has been my life. It has been the focus of my childhood identity, educational career and retirement years” - Garrie Collins.
On recently reaching his 80th birthday, it became obvious to Garrie that he should complete this journey by now presenting
who he is and what he hopes can be our future. The imagery, engagement, inventiveness and candour within his artwork are testaments to a creative life lived and a guide to cultural activists.
The School Quadrangle blends development and performance to guide the advancement of education and the Arts in schools and communities.
The works displayed are essentially graphic, direct, regional, experimental, and exploratory - retaining a deep commitment
to Collins’ connection to the Hawkesbury and Hunter Valley regions and his insights of children.
The School Quadrangle celebrates reflections on the adventures, friendships and beginnings of a creative life.

Image: Garrie Collins, Blokes 2019, digital artwork, recycled materials construction, 60 x 60cm.

Invitation to the Exhibition Opening for July/August

You are invited to the launch of July/August Exhibitions

You'll still be able to catch our latest exhibitions from 5 July, however our July/August exhibitions launch will now be 6pm Saturday 17 July where the winners of the 2021 Mullins Conceptual Photography Prize will be announced. We hope you will join us for the celebrations!
Free Entry. 
Know what to expect. Plan your next visit by checking the current applicable COVID rules and downloading the Service NSW app before attending the gallery.

Harley Barwick, ‘Dotted Snake’ 2021, acrylic on canvas; featured in GUNDI: THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME – Healing Country, Finding Me.

 Harley Snake n

Exhibition launch kindly sponsored by Hollydene Estate Wines, Hunter Belle Cheese and Pukara Estate.

Visitors are required to provide their name and contact details on arrival at the gallery in line with NSW Health rules and our COVID-Safe plan.

Please consider downloading the Service NSW app before your next visit.