Councillors debate direction of art awards
■ Australia’s richest regional art awards are at a crossroads as its future and past collide.
The City of Karratha council last week debated whether the Cossack Art Awards should stick with its roots as a regional art prize or make further changes to develop it as a national-level art prize.
The awards were launched in 1993 and the prize pool has risen from $34,000 in 2004 to $109,000 in each of the past five years.
Some of the concerns raised included losing sight of what the awards were about, which was facilitating an event that had the works of amateur and professional artists from home and abroad on the same pedestal.
One idea floated was to reduce the number of categories and weigh the prize pool more heavily on the major prize.
Councillor Fiona White-Hartig said there should be further consultation with local art groups, artists and art judges.
That was a point the councillors concurred with as the matter was laid on the table for further community engagement.
In the same meeting, it was decided 19 artworks obtained by the City from past Cossack events would be donated to community groups, while retaining 24 other pieces.
About 15 pieces from the collection are held in storage at any one time on a rotational basis with the others displayed at City facilities.
Mayor Peter Long said a small number of older paintings had some damage to frames and hanging mechanisms.
At the time of the meeting, the City had not yet notified the artists who had painted the pieces which will be donated
Six of the paintings were by Florence Corrigan while three were by Patricia Floyd.