The Doyles celebrate the present and usher in the future 

The d’Arcy Doyle art awards, or ‘The Doyles’, as they are affectionately known, were established in 2004 with an original prize money of $3,000. Throughout the years, many winners have found it to be a valuable stepping stone in their careers and have gone on to develop into full time artists. Now with prize money totalling over $19,000, it has become one of only two significant art prizes running on the Gold Coast (the other is the Morris Art Prize which is here for the first time in 2018). We spoke with Event Director Earle Hinschen and local artist, gallery owner and previous category winner Steve Hillier about the impact of the awards on the local arts community.

“When the d’Arcy Doyle awards started we also had the Gold Coast Art Prize, which was partly or wholly sponsored by Council,” recalls Steve.

“And at the same time we had the Border Art Prize, which was a conjunctive effort between Gold Coast and the Tweed. Then last year, the d’Arcy Doyles was the only major art prize available on the Gold Coast – it was quite astonishing – so it’s really important in that respect in that it gives local artists something to work towards.

“It is also a good opportunity for local artists to put their artwork into a prize that’s not going to be pre-judged,” Steve continues. “A lot of prizes are juried in, meaning that you send in an image in first and the decision gets made whether or not to show it. But at the Doyles just about everything that is submitted gets hung, so it’s good for both professional and amateur artists.”

Many of the amateur artists on display this year will be Gold Coast students who have entered the junior competition. It’s a relatively new category, and one that Earle Hinschen is particularly excited about.

“I instigated the children’s category about three years ago because I wanted to help children who are our future artists and we’ve really gone very well,” Earle explains.

“We’ve had full co-operation from the arts teachers on the gold coast and the standard of the childrens’ paintings is actually outstanding. It gives me a big thrill actually, I get a kick out of fostering art for children.”

The prize for the Junior d’Arcy Doyle category is a masterclass by a known artist, a coup for any young painter. The winner of last year’s senior section had his painting bought by the Commissioner of Police in Brisbane where it now hangs in his Roma Street headquarters. Another resides in Parliament House in Canberra after being bought by a politician.

“I’ve spoken to the [junior entrants] before, when they’ve come in,” says Earle. “And I say to them, ‘you never know where your art might end up.’ It’s things like that which are really heartwarming. I love encouraging our future artists.”

You can encourage future artists and support established ones by visiting the d’Arcy Doyle Awards exhibition at Mudgeeraba Memorial Hall from 27 June – 8 July. Visit darcydoyleawards.com.au for more.

IMAGE: 2017 winner “Mt Cotton from Logan, evening” by Brian Cook

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