Friend, Ian. For JHP #6. 2002. Ink, Gouache, Crayon 760 x 1120mm (Detail)

New vision

After almost twenty years of running a nationally acclaimed art prize for works on paper, the Hutchins Art Committee resolved to reimagine the Hutchins Art Prize in June 2016.

A bold and vibrant new vision for the art prize was envisaged, conveyed by a change of name to the Hutchins Australian Contemporary Art Prize. To celebrate and encourage the diversity of expression and approach key to contemporary art was identified as a primary objective, with members seeking to support artists at all career stages, working across traditional and contemporary mediums. The outcome was the removal of limitations upon preconditions such as genre, theme, substrate, subject matter, medium and art form. The Entry Criteria were subsequently extensively remodelled in order to provide a flexible and open forum for artists to present their ideas.

The selection of Brooke Street Pier as the exhibition venue was central to the new vision. This contemporary and beautiful floating building is located in the heart of the Hobart waterfront. Brooke Street Pier features a spacious central exhibition space and houses the MONA and Peppermint Bay ferry terminals, together with a trade section showcasing iconic Tasmanian businesses. The timing of the art prize event was scheduled for June 2018, with the intention of running concurrently with MONA’s Dark MOFO. The rationale was to build upon the enormous positive reputation created by MONA for arts and cultural tourism in the state.

Forty finalists will be selected for the finalists' exhibition which is intended be accessible and attract a wide demographic. The Art Curator and organisers will host education tours for schools, community groups and the public, aimed at providing opportunities for students, groups and communities to engage meaningfully with the artwork. This exposure is also important for artists as a way of promoting, networking and selling their work. Connecting through an active public program to as wide an audience as possible also underscores the importance of art more widely in the formation of Australian culture.

The appointment of erudite and exceptional judges with expertise across the arts as established artists, writers, educator and curators was acknowledged as critical to the evaluation process for the art prize. Pat Brassington, Edward Colless and Dr Peter Hill comprise the 2018 judging panel and they will be making the initial preselection of finalists as well as deciding upon the prize winners.
The Hutchins Australian Contemporary Art Prize would not be possible without the support of some wonderful and iconic Tasmanian businesses. Thank you to Brooke Street Pier, Artery, Fullers Bookshop, Wrest Point Casino, Red Arrow and Monotone Printers for their generous contributions. The Hutchins Art Committee are especially grateful to The Hutchins Foundation and The Hutchins School for their commitment to a shared vision and ongoing operational and funding support.
Dr Joy Barber-Milojevic
Art Curator


Banner image: 2002 The Hutchins Art Prize Winner
Friend, Ian. For JHP #6. 2002. Ink, Gouache, Crayon 760 x 1120mm (Detail)