Blazing an art trail

QUEANBEYAN has developed a reputation as something of an artists' hub over recent years, and this weekend the annual Queanbeyan Art Trail will see local galleries and artists' studios open their doors to the general public and showcase the breadth of talent on offer here.

Now in its sixth year, the Art Trail takes in 10 local arts sites around town, including the private studios of three working artists based in Queanbeyan. 

Art fans and culture vultures can simply pick up the 2012 Art Trail brochure from either the Queanbeyan Visitors Centre, the Queanbeyan Library, The Q, or print it out online and then visit galleries and studios at their leisure over the course of the weekend.

Queanbeyan City Council cultural officer Georgina Perri will also be out guiding the Art Trail bus tour on Sunday, which sold out early this year.

"There's two ways you can approach it. There's the self-guided tour ... and then we're running the ever-popular bus tour on the Sunday, which is actually sold out. That's gained a great reputation and people are ringing me up mid-year to put their names down for it," Ms Perri said.

This year's Art Trail will also include a chance to visit local sculptor Neil Dickinson and botanical water colour artist Cheryl Hodges at work in their home studios.

"People are generally intrigued about where and how artists work, so this is an opportunity to see where all the action happens, and talk to them about their techniques, rather than in being in a gallery space where the work is already finished. You're able to see the work in progress," Ms Perri said.

"We also have the larger operators like Benedict House and the Artists Shed, which are normally open, but we also focus on the artists whose studios aren't normally open to the public," she said.

Also on the trail is the recently opened Pocket Studio, a gold and silver smithing studio in Gilmore Road, which features the works of four contemporary jewellery artists.

"We've got a lot of talented artists in Queanbeyan who are quietly working away in their studios, and this is an opportunity for the general public to get a bird's eye view of what they do," Ms Perri said.

And after a busy day on the Art Trail, the best place to relax and unwind on Sunday afternoon is at the Queanbeyan Artists Shed on Foster Street, where a special program of events, including drinks and nibblies, musical acts and a new photographic exhibition will close out the weekend.

* Pick up your 2012 Art Trail brochure from either the Queanbeyan Visitors Centre, the Queanbeyan Library, The Q, or online at www.qcc.nsw.gov.au.

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