Kilmore Art Expo director Andrea Willis, left, and Carolyn Jansson with the expo's raffle prize – a painting by Jayne Henderson entitled Mill Street, Kilmore.

By Colin MacGillivray

THE return of Kilmore Art Expo at the weekend proved to be worth the wait, with organisers reporting increased crowds and sales after a year off in 2020.

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing the cancellation of last year’s expo only weeks before it was scheduled, director Andrea Willis said organisers were unsure of what to expect this year.

But the region’s residents flocked back to the show, with an uptick in attendance of between 20 and 30 per cent across the weekend.

“We were really thrilled with the number of people who turned up, and they all seemed to enjoy it,” Ms Willis said.

“The most significant thing for me was that there was such a range of people – families and younger people – and I would say that has changed with a number of new people moving into the area.

“We sold 50 per cent more paintings than we normally do. We’re delighted with the number of people both attending and buying paintings.

“With a lot of new people, that means there are a lot of new houses and a lot of new walls to decorate.”

The expo featured a sculpture category for the first time alongside traditional painting and photography categories, and guest judges Linda Weil, Ray Fagg and Gillian Govan deemed Melbourne artist Marija Patterson’s sculpture Serenity best in show.

The judges praised the sculpture as a ‘beautiful, delicately balanced sculpture’ with ‘wonderful emotion’.

Ms Willis said the expo’s raffle was also a success, with tickets selling out completely for the first time.

“We usually have some left over, but because we had more visitors we sold them all,” she said.

Kilmore resident Carolyn Jansson was the winner of the raffle after purchasing three tickets, taking home a painting of Mill Street, Kilmore by Jayne Henderson as her prize.

“That was a big surprise,” Ms Jansson said.

“I’d bought a painting because a friend of mine said they’d seen one in a previous year that they liked and by the time they went right round the show it had been sold, so as soon as I saw it I bought it.

“I did have something to collect, but then I got a great surprise when Andrea rang me and told me there was something else for me.

“I’ve won a couple of things but never a raffle. It’s a painting I really like, and with it being a Kilmore artist that makes it a bit more special.”

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