ART in the Streets has hit the shop windows and galleries of Bega, transforming the whole town into an art gallery for the fourth year.
The official opening of Art in the Streets will take place on Monday January 10 at the Bega Valley Regional Art Gallery at 5.30pm, with well -known local identity Margaret Taylor, herself an artist, opening the exhibition.
Mrs Taylor is Chair of the Bega Business Council and on the Board of SERTEC and the Mumbulla Foundation, as well as being involved with numerous local organisations.
All are invited to the opening, which includes a fun party.
This will be followed by a quick trip along the art trail to whet appetites for more.
Many of the participating artists will be present at the opening to chat about their work, and the Art in the Streets booklet, in today's paper, complete with information on each artist and a map showing where each artist's work is displayed, will be available too.
The booklet will also be distributed through the Merimbula News Weekly and Eden Magnet newspapers and through tourist information centres and other places where visitors congregate across the Bega Valley Shire.
The trail will also be advertised in the three newspapers throughout January.
This year the range and diversity of talents includes glass art, photography, calligraphic art, land and seascapes, drawing, portrait painting, abstract art, multi media, sculpted wood, ceramics, fabric art and more.
Participating businesses are more than happy to showcase the work of local artists and craftspeople for the month of January.
Artists this year include Sam Klobasa, Ben Marden, Stuart Carless, Rhonda Davies-Ayliffe, Bradley Nolan, Nicole Vandersteegen and Poppy Benton, Peter Tucker, Jean McPaul, artists from Valley Originals Art and Craft Cooperative, Suzy Johnson, Bethany Thurtell, Paul Wood, Amanda dark, Louella Vaughan-McPaul, Peter Otton, Nicki Hall and Colleen Dixon.
The Bega Valley Regional Art Gallery is featuring exhibitions from Helen Fitzgerald and the South East Modern Art group.
Participating businesses in 2005 are: Bega Business Systems, Bega Newsagency, Fletchers Fotographics, Horizon Credit Union, Bega RSL Club Restaurant, Sportspower, Betta Electrical, Bega Blinds and Awnings, Country Energy, Jason Harley Optometrist, Finches Icecreamery, Bath and Bed Manchester, Travelworld, Watkins 3D Paint andColour, Brownys Talk of the Town Restaurant, Rainbow Art and Craft and the Bega District News.
The idea of bringing art into the shops and business houses of Bega came from former Bega District News staffer, Geoffrey Grigg, who convinced business people to sponsor an artist during the busy January holiday period on the Sapphire Coast.
The co-ordinator this year is Natasha Lloyd Jones, BDN staff member and former gallery owner.
The artists curate their own exhibits, choosing the most appropriate works and backdrops for the allocated spaces.
Some of this year's exhibitors have participated each year, others are new to Art in the Streets, as are some of the host businesses.
Some artists take a break for a year - their participation in Art in the Streets is so successful they have to work hard to keep up with the commissions!
Using the booklet as a guide, follow the numbered art trail, visiting the galleries, shops and businesses that feature the Art in the Streets poster in their front window.
Make the tour in one day, or prolong the treat over several days.
You'll have a chance to vote for your favourite art work - the People's Choice Award nomination form appears on the back page of the booklet.
Fill it in and drop it off at the Bega District News on the corner of Carp and Gipps Streets Bega, before the end of January.
When Bega becomes an art gallery for a month, everybody is able to enjoy the talent that we have in the Bega Valley.