Community artists featured alongside the professionals recently, as part of Vivid Art Gallery’s 9x5 competition.
A staple exhibition for many years, the competition was originally presented at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.
“A lot of people in the community were upset that it was no longer running so we decided that this year, we would create a 9x5 competition for the community to kick off Stretch Festival,” Vivid Art Gallery’s Carol Hazel said.
“We try and hold as many community events as we can, which also builds up a profile for the gallery.”
The competition – which had a range of categories for all ages – had the theme of Mandurah – Life in Art and required entrants to create a 9x5 inch art piece (23×13 centimetres).
Surrounding the competition pieces was the most recent collection from the Vivid Art Gallery artists.
The artists established the exhibition space last year, in a bid give their work a bigger punch in the arts industry.
“There's not many places in Mandurah to showcase,” artist Karen O’Keeffe said.
“That's why we all got together in the first place – through the artpreneur course that the City of Mandurah put on – and we just tried to all help each other, because usually you're just sitting at home on your own, trying to get your work out.
“It can be very isolating so it's great when different, like-minded people, get together and so far it's been great. We're trying to make the Smart Street Mall more of an art hub and everyone comes into the mall to find out what the latest art is.”
And with the exhibition changing every eight weeks, the artists are always pushed to keep creating new pieces.
“It's very stimulating as well,” Ms O’Keeffe said. “With my pieces at the moment, I'm concentrating on wildflowers and I was amazed – because I love to reference everything – and looking up wildflowers there are about half a dozen different colours for Sturt Peas, not just the ordinary red ones.
“So it really makes it interesting trying to find different colours all the time.” The 9x5 competition pieces will be on display until May 20.