Thursday, November 23, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

A Dazzling Showcase Of Artistic Brilliance

The Paxton’s Portrait Prize is in its’ ninth year, this year introducing the Pet Portrait category with entries from talented artists from around the Mackay region.

The event is the brainchild of Lynn Robson and Melissa Larsen, both realising there was really no way for children and students to be able to exhibit their artwork in a local exhibition. This event provides a platform for young artists to show off their creative talents.

The event is themed around the Archibald Prize, with conditions that artworks must be a portrait of someone from Mackay, alive or deceased. It also has to have been created within the past twelve months, using any medium of choice.

The Paxton’s Portrait Prize is all ages inclusive, with Primary School, Secondary School and Open categories. Pieces are hung up on display, with a host of judges to decide the winners.

Teacher and Event Founder Melissa Larsen stated, “Seeing the wonderful community come together and support it, it's just fantastic”.

“People make an effort every year to go and create a work to go into it. The wonderful camaraderie of our Mackay community that gets behind all of this, it's really wonderful to see.”

Councillor Michelle Green had the pleasure of participating in the Paxton’s Portrait Prize as an esteemed judge this year. Michelle commented, “This is where you learn the ropes, and you get a direction to follow your passion.

“If it helps these little creatives go on to be larger creatives and into careers with that creative talent, I think that's what's so amazing about it.”

This year, the event has been held at the Jubilee Community Centre instead of its’ usual location at Paxton’s Warehouse which has enabled the exhibition to stay open for two weeks running until 24th November.

A highlight for the local community is the People’s Choice award for each category, where locals can visit the exhibition and pick their favourite piece.

Congratulations to all of the entrants and winners this year, who are fostering a brilliant array of talent in the local art scene for Mackay.

The Jubilee Community Centre came alive on judging day for the Paxton’s Portrait Prize

Photo supplied

Sophie Clayton 'On the Surface' Winner of Secondary School category

Ashley Holmes ‘Reading of Prayer’ Winner of Open category

Ryan Masendu ‘Self Portrait’ Winner of Primary School category

Annie Usher ‘Calling Home’ Highly Commended Open category

Photo Credit: Councillor Michelle Green

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