Creative Partnerships On Show

Local artists and businesses rise to the New Year challenge

50 of the region’s most talented artists will reveal their latest work at Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery this February, in a unique exhibition supported by local businesses.

The New Year New Work exhibition brings the Coffs Coast community together to raise the profile of artists working here and help build a more vibrant, cultural identity for the region.

It’s an ambitious fundraising initiative by the Friends of the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery to partner 50 business sponsors with 50 artists, yet local businesses have risen to the challenge, pledging $200 to sponsor an artist’s work. All funds raised go towards building the gallery's collection while artists have the opportunity to sell their works during the 4 week exhibition.

  • Danielle Burford beside her artwork “Coming Home”, sponsored by Stephanie Sims of Uko Ono.
  • Nick Warfield with his sculpture “Sacred Ibis”, sponsored by Mike Blewitt Coffs Coast.
  • “Family Album” by Josh Mackenzie sponsored by Bellbottom Media.
  • “Arrawarra Moon” by Laurie Mossuto sponsored by Woolgoolga’s Ground Earth Café.
  • “Plumb Bob” sculpture by Jeramie Scahill, sponsored by Sawtell’s G2 Architects.
  • “Visit” by Terri Butterworth, sponsored by Coffs Harbour’s Bryant McKinnon Lawyers.

One of the creative partnerships born out of the exhibition is between contemporary indigenous painter Danielle Burford and her sponsor, Sawtell music phenomenon Uko Ono. Founder, Stephanie Sims, explains her mission is to spread joy through the ukulele and now the visual arts.

“I am passionate about the power the arts has to change lives and transform communities so I jumped at the chance to support this wonderful exhibition,” said Stephanie, who knew Danielle’s work through Saltwater Freshwater Arts and recent community projects.

“Danielle was one of three Aboriginal artists who painted ukuleles that were gifted to new migrant families as part of the Happy Hearts Ukulele Project in 2017.”

A Wiradjuri woman who grew up in western NSW before moving to Coffs Harbour, Danielle says her new work “Coming Home” reflects her cultural totem of the goanna.

“It’s a transformation of the bare skeletal structure of the animal into a stylised design,” said Danielle. “The work is about realising the simplicity of life, remembering who you are and how far you’ve come.”

The unifying element of the New Year New Work exhibition is a 50x50 cm piece of plywood provided to all artists to use in whatever way they choose; whether it’s to paint, print, draw or sculpt on.

For Valla artist Nick Warfield, a new sculptural work was inspired by an ibis that had a dangerous encounter with his car but flew away unscathed. Made from a discarded bumper bar, Nick’s use of reclaimed automotive parts is a great fit for luxury car dealership, Mike Blewitt Coffs Coast, who have come on board as his sponsor.

Another local artist on show is Josh Mackenzie of Bellingen with his new work titled “Family Album” reflecting a nostalgic nod to popular culture, combining family pictures of the 70s with psychedelic album cover themes. Looking for synergies between artist and business when matching sponsors, the gallery team couldn’t go past Bellbottom as the sponsor for Josh’s work.

New Year New Work exhibition, 2 February – 2 March, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery.