LOCAL artist Melva Powell will be acknowledged for her contribution to Wagin Woolorama's art section with her family sponsoring the new Melva Powell artist encouragement award at this year's event.
The best young and aspiring artist will receive a $500 art supply voucher and will be selected from the artworks hung on the day.
Ms Powell was instrumental in growing the section to a well-supported prestigious competition when she changed the section to allow entries to be offered for sale.
In the space of a few years Ms Powell gained the sponsorship to allow her to increase the first prize money for the main class, Western Australian scene in water colour or oils, from the $75 it was in 1975 to $200 when she took over in 1981.
That year the Shire of Wagin became a major sponsor, donating the $200 acquisitive Wagin Woolorama Art Prize for a landscape painted by a local artist and the inaugural prize was won by Ms Powell.
The prize has remained an acquisitive award but now carries $1000 for the winner whose work is acquired for the town's public collection.
As a special highlight this year, a selection of 10 of the Shire's paintings acquired over the years will be on display in the art section.
It was a blueprint for success that continues today with current head steward Fiona Dawson saying there are many people who go to the Woolorama purely to see the art.
This year sponsorship and prizes are valued at $5500 and includes a new Wagin Woolorama 50th celebration President's Choice Award.
Woolorama president Paul Powell will select his favourite rural theme artwork from the paintings on show, with the winner to receive a $300 voucher.
Ms Dawson said Bunnings Trade had become a first-time sponsor this year and art was one of several sections which opted to take advantage of their generosity.
As a result many of the exhibitors will be taking home prizes in the form of a Bunnings gift voucher and as Ms Dawson says - everyone loves a Bunnings' voucher, even artists.
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Her own contribution to the section is a $150 picture framing voucher for the people's choice award.
Showgoers are able to vote for their favourite painting up until 4pm each day and the winner will be the one with the highest tally over the two days.
To keep continuity in the section judges are invited to return for three successive shows and this year judge Stephanie Dymock, Kendenup, will be there for the second year of her judging commitment to the Woolorama.
Ms Dawson said the home industries exhibition hall would undergo a major revamp for this year's show with art and quilts to be the two main focal points.
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