In 1995, the then-Headmaster of Redlands, Peter Cornish, invited Alec Nicholson, Tracy Mulligan, Viviane Schmitzer and myself to discuss the possibility of introducing an annual Art Prize to the School's calendar. It was felt that to be successful it would be necessary for the Art Prize to be respected and acknowledged alongside other important Art Prizes of Sydney. It would have to benefit the Artists and enjoy the support of private galleries. Most importantly, the Art Prize must benefit Redlands students, not just those studying Visual Arts, and encourage them to enjoy and appreciate the work of talented Australian and New Zealand artists.
With the generous support of Westpac and the help of distinguished curators and judges, the wheels were set in motion. Since its inception, we have watched the Redlands Art Prize flourish from its beginnings in the Redlands Gym to its current presentation as a month-long exhibition held at the National Art School.
Over the years many people have purchased and enjoyed artworks by acclaimed Australian artists including Arthur Boyd, David Boyd, Tim Maquire, Tim Storrier, Chris Langois, Garry Shead, Guan Wei, Dorothy Napangardi, Gloria Petyarri, Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Ray Crooke. Many who purchased works have seen them greatly appreciate in value.
The first Redlands Art Prize winner was Imants Tillers, now acknowledged as a leading Australian artist and exhibiting worldwide. Imants also curated the exhibition from 2008 to 2010 and further raised the profile of the Prize by broadening the artworks to include sculpture, installations and video.
This special event in the Redlands' calendar will hopefully continue with the support of the School community and sponsors for many years to come.
Co-founder Redlands Westpac Art Prize and former Deputy Headmistress, Redlands
Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of New South Wales