Ballarat artists gather for local festival

THE month of August was launched with artistic flair.

Hundreds of people attended the fifth annual Ballarat Artisan Festival at the weekend which celebrated all forms of art from local artists.

Event organiser Sandra van Zyl said the festival, which was held at the Mining Exchange, provided a platform for local artists to promote their work.

"We just like to promote art in Ballarat. People like to express themselves through art and it is wonderful if a home owner comes along and uses it in their home," Ms van Zyl said.

"I'm excited about the craft and pottery on display this year. The artistic inventiveness of some people is amazing."

Local artists Barry Walters, Peter Latchford and Erma Fidler were among 60 stall holders displaying their work which included pastels and oil paintings depicting land and city-scapes from the region.

Works of Sturt Street and Lake Wendouree - a favoured landscape for artists -and Ballarat nature were prominently featured.

Cast Iron sculptures and rock carvings also received significant attention by those who attended.

The Ballarat Art Society, which formed in 1982, holds meetings on the first Saturday of every month and is made up of 90 members.

"The people who take part are enthusiastic about it and are mostly people who have finished working," she said.

Despite a growing interest in the Ballarat art community, Ms van Zyl said support was still needed.

She said the festival had seen up to 3000 people attend in previous years.

"There should be much more interest in Ballarat art. I think people are a bit hesitant about buying a work of art. If they see something and love it, they should go for it," she said.

"When I see some art I just can't help but smile."

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