Big prizes up for grabs at Easter art show

DOES Bendigo have a future Monet or Dali in its midst? 

Perhaps so.

And if there is, you can be assured that Jennifer Kalionis, the Castlemaine Art Gallery & Historical Museum director, will sniff them out.

Tonight the Bendigo Rotary Easter Art Show will kick of with a GALA launch and awards, of which the Bendigo Advertiser is a major sponsor.

This year the top prize of Best in Show is $5000 cash and the winners of the Best Oil, Best Watercolour and Best Pastel drawings will receive $1000 apiece.

There will also be four Highly Commended awards and a Best Small Image award.

The show will see more than 700 paintings adorn the town hall over the next five days, all of which are for sale.

The show's curator Brian Figg said about half the paintings were by local artists, including entrants by prominent Bendigo artists Geoff Paynter and Stan Thomas.

"We've attracted more artists from Melbourne this year due to the cash award," Mr Figg said.

But he stressed that the show was open to all to partake. 

"There's a wide variety on offer," he said.

"It's a community art show - even hobby artists can display."

Mr Figg said he was expecting 200 people to attend the launch tonight and 4000 to visit throughout the weekend.

He said that most years about 20 per cent of artwork sold.

He said the total value of paintings on display was $430,000.

The show runs from tomorrow until 4pm on Monday.

Entry is $5 at the door and children visit for free.

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